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Full text of "Memoirs of a Highland lady; the autobiography of Elizabeth Grant of Rothiemurchus, afterwards Mrs. Smith of Baltiboys, 1797-1830"

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Jane Maria Lady Strachey died at her A 1 
residence in Gordon-square, W.C., yester- o 
day, at the age of 88. She was a daughter % 
of Sir John Peter Grant, of Rothie- t g 
murchus, and n 1859 she was married to rr 
Lieutenant-General Sir Richard Strachey, 
who died in 1908. Lady Strachey was the ^ 
author of " Lay Texts," " Poets on Poets," 
" Nursery Lyrics," and edited the delight- g 
ful " Memoirs of a Highland Lady." She 
was the mother of 13 children, of whom 
nine survive her. Among them are !1 
Mr. Lytton Strachey, the author of 
" Eminent Victorians," " Elizabeth and It 
Essex," and other works ; Lieutenant- 
Colonel John Strachey, Colonel Richard = 
John Strachey, Miss J. P. Strachey, 
Principal of Newnham College, Cam- 
bridge ; and Miss Philippa Strachey. 

Lady Strachey's deep interest in the welfare ^ 
of India, manifested down to old age by 
frequent attendances at meetings connected 
with that country, was based upon the P 
strongest personal links. Her father, Sir John ^ 
Peter Grant, was the second of his family ' 
to win distinction in India. He was a member n 
of the Government of India both with Dal- tj 
housie and with Canning, and when, in the , 
Mutiny, Mr. Colvin, the Lieutenant-Go vernor 
of the Agra Provinces, was cut off from all 
communication with a portion of his territory, 
Sir John was appointed temporary Lieutenant- 
Governor of the severed portion, having a 3 
Heat first at Benares and then at Allahabad. ,, 
He was much impressed by the ability of 
young Richard Strachey who accompanied *' 
him and became secretary in all departments. } 
Strachey had married in 1864, and had lost 
his wife a year later. When the Mutiny was 3 
qu.-ll. el and Sir John Peter Grant went to j 
Calcutta as the second Lieutenant-Governor 
of Bengal, Strachey married his daughter on r 
January 4, 1859. At that time Grant was 
sharing the unpopularity among the European 
population of the Viceroy, " Clemency " 
Canning, and it was known that his very 
liberal views had had a great inlluence in the 

















I. 1797-1803 I 

II. 1803-1804 ...... 23 

III. 1805-1807 ...... 46 

IV. 1701-1808 ...... 64 

V. 1808-1809 ...... 81 

VI. 1809-1810 . . . . . .no 

VII. 1810-1811 ...... 127 

VIII. 1811-1812 145 

IX. 1812 163 

X. 1570-1813 ...... 183 

XI. 1813 217 

XII. 1813-1814 ...... 247 

XIII. 1814 263 

XIV. 1814-1815 ...... 282 

XV. 1815-1817 ...... 302 

XVI. 1817-1818 319 

XVII. 1818-1819 334 

XVIII. 1820-1822 ...... 341 

XIX. 1822-1826 358 

XX. 1826-1827 376 

XXI. 1827-1828 ...... 393 

XXII. 1829-1830 ...... 401 

NOTES ' -. 409 

INDEX ..... 4*7 



THE AUTHOR . . . . . . Frontispiece 

Face page 
LADY GRANT with her Two Children ... 6 

Sir JOHN PETER GRANT, Seventh Laird of Rothiemurchus 10 

THE DOUNE ....... 30 

JANE IRONSIDE (Lady GRANT) . . . .48 

Miss RAPER (afterwards wife of Dr William Grant) . 68 


MUCHRACH CASTLE . . . . .184 

INVERDRUIE HOUSE . . . . . 196 

THE KIRK ....... 204 

THE FLOATERS ...... 220 

BRAE RIACH ....... 226 

JOHNNIE (Lady Strachey's Father) AND MARY . . 238 


GLEN ENNICH. . . . . . 300 

JANE . . . ^ , ; . - V , 318 

WILLIAM * " . . . ' . . . 344 

LOCH-AN-ElLAN COTTAGE . . . . .348 




;;;. .,; LADY ' ; 



I WAS born on the 7th of May 1797, of a Sunday 
evening, at No. 6 (north side) of Charlotte Square, 
Edinburgh, in my father's own lately built house, and I 
am the eldest of the five children he and my mother 
reared to maturity. 

My parents had married young ; my father wanted 
a few weeks of twenty-two and my mother a very few 
of twenty-one when they went together for better for 
worse. My poor mother ! 

They were married on the 2nd of August 1796, in 
the church of the little village of Houghton-le-Spring, 
in the county of Durham. I have no genealogical 
tree of either family at hand, so not liking to trust to 
memory in particulars of this nature, I must be content 
with stating that my father was descended not very 
remotely from the Chief of the Clan Grant, and that 
these cadets of that great house having been provided 
for handsomely in the way of property, and having also 
been generally men of abilities in their rude times, had 
connected themselves well in marriage, and held rather 
a high position among the lesser barons of their wild 

My mother was also of ancient birth, the Ironsides 
having held their small estate near Houghton-le-Spring 
from the times of our early Norman kings, the cross 



they wear for arms having been won in the holy wars ; 
the tradition in the family indeed carried back their 
origin to the Saxon era to which their name belongs, 
and it may be so, for Saxon remains abound in that 
part of England. 

My parents met in Glasgow in their dancing days, 
and there formed an attachment which lasted to the 
very close of their long lives through many troubles, 
many checks, and many changes ; but they did not 
marry immediately, my father at the period of their 
first acquaintance not being exactly his own master. 
His childhood had been passed strangely without 
any fixed plan, and in various homes under widely 
different systems, but with the certain future of wealth 
and station if he lived. The beautiful plain of 
Rothiemurchus, with its lakes and rivers and forest and 
mountain glens, offered in those old days but a few 
cleared sunny patches fit for tillage ; black cattle were 
its staple products; its real wealth, its timber, was 
unthought of, so that as its sons multiplied the laird of 
the period felt some difficulty in maintaining them; 
the result in the generation to which my grandfather, 
Dr William Grant, belonged, was that he with a 
younger brother, and a set of half-uncles much about 
their own age, were all shoved off about the world to 
scramble through it as they best could with little but 
their good blood to help them. The fortunes of this 
set of adventurers were various ; some fared well, others 
worse, but all who survived returned to end their days 
where they began them, for no change of circumstances 
can change the heart of a Highlander ; faithful to the 
impressions of his youth wherever he may have 
wandered, whatever may have befallen him, to his own 
hills he must return in his old age, if only to lay his 
bones beneath the heather; at least it was so in my 
grandfather's day, for he died at the Doune, 1 still but 
the laird's brother, surrounded by his relations. He 
had prospered in his struggle for independence, 
beginning his medical studies at Aberdeen and pur- 
1 The name of the house on the Rothiemurchus estate. 


suing them through several of the continental hospitals, 
remaining some time at Leyden and then fixing in 
London, where he got into good practice ; turned 
author so successfully that one of his works, a treatise 
on fever, was translated into both French and German ; 
and then married an heiress of the name of Raper of a 
very respectable and highly talented family. 

They were for some years twelve, I think 
childless, then came my father, and four years after- 
wards his only sister, my aunt Mrs Frere, at whose 
birth her mother died. Good Mrs Sophy Williams, my 
father's attendant, bonne or nursery governess, soon 
removed with both her charges to their grandfather 
Raper's country-house at Twyford, near Bishop's 
Stortford, where they remained till his death. My 
aunt was then adopted by other Raper relations, and 
my father went back to his father, who just at that 
time was retiring from his profession. In due course 
he accompanied the Doctor to Rothiemurchus, and on 
his death, which happened shortly and very suddenly, 
his uncle Rothie took entire charge of his heir. The 
summers were passed at Inverdruie, 1 the winters at 
Elgin, and a succession of tutors queer men enough, 
by their pupil's account of them were engaged to 
superintend the studies of this wilful boy and a whole 
host of cousins, who helped to spoil him. This plan 
not exactly answering, one country school after another 
was tried, and at last the High School of Edinburgh, 
where his time wore away till the period of college 
arrived. He was sent to Glasgow with the intention of 
being prepared for the bar ; there he met my mother : 
she was on a visit to her elder sister, Mrs Leitch, a 
very beautiful woman, the wife of one of the principal 
merchants of that eminently mercantile city. 

My mother's education had been a very simple 
matter. She had grown up healthy and happy in her 
own village among a crowd of brothers and sisters, 
and cousins amounting to a multitude, learning the 
mere rudiments of knowledge from the village school- 
1 A small house on the property. 


mistress, catching up stray bits of better things from 
the lessons of her brothers, and enjoying any chance 
gaiety that now and then wakened up the quiet but 
very sociable neighbourhood. My grandfather Ironside 
was a clergyman, rector of an adjoining parish, curate 
of his own, and with his little private income might 
have done more for his children had he not had so 
many of them, and been besides a man of rather 
expensively hospitable habits. My aunt Leitch's 
marriage opened the world to the family, and my 
mother's engagement to my father was the first result. 

As I have mentioned, the marriage was deferred a 
while, and before it took place both the bride's father 
and the bridegroom's uncle died. My grandfather 
Ironside had been so long helplessly paralytic, that his 
death was really a release from a very pitiable exist- 
ence. My uncle Rothie died suddenly in the full 
vigour of a green old age. He was found in his study, 
leaning back in his chair, a corpse, with his large Bible 
open before him. This event altered my father's 
position, it enabled him to marry when he liked, and it 
would have released him from his legal studies had he 
been inclined to give them up; but besides that he 
thought a knowledge of law necessary to the usefulness 
of a country gentleman, he really liked the profession ; 
and the French Revolution, in the startling shake it 
had given to the aristocracy of all Europe while it was 
annihilating its own, had made it a fashion for all men 
to provide themselves with some means of earning a 
future livelihood, should the torrent of democracy 
reach to other lands. He therefore, during the year of 
mourning requisite on both sides, took a lodging in 
Edinburgh, where he gave a succession of bachelor 
entertainments, got through his law trials, and then, to 
make sure of the fidelity of his attachment, went over 
to Ireland with an Irish college friend, and made a gay 
tour through Cork, Limerick, and Wicklow before 
appearing at Houghton. My mother expected him, 
but she had not thought herself justified in formally 
announcing this; she had therefore to meet some 


frowns for having rejected noble and wealthy suitors, 
for the sake of him who was considered to have been 
trifling with her, and whom she must have loved for 
himself alone for mind and manner only as neither 
he nor she had any idea of the extent of his inheritance, 
and in person he was not handsome. 

On their marriage my parents settled in Edinburgh, 
which was to be their home, and where my father had 
purchased one of the only three houses then finished in 
Charlotte Square. Here he was to pursue his pro- 
fession, spending the summer vacations either on the 
beautiful Highland property, or in travels which were 
sometimes to extend to the south of England, a pretty 
estate in Hertfordshire having fallen to him just at this 
time by the death of his uncle Raper. 

The house at Thorley Hall was so small as to be 
inconvenient, but its furniture was valuable; a fine 
library, some good pictures, portfolios of prints, and all 
sorts of philosophical instruments formed part of it, 
all of which were removed to the Doune. The land 
was worth about 1200 a year. The rents of Rothie- 
murchus were small, not more than ;8oo, but the 
timber was beginning to be marketable ; three or four 
thousand a year could easily have been cut out of that 
extensive forest for ever, and hardly have been missed. 
My grandfather Grant had left his son 10,000 in ready 
money, and my aunt Frere inherited her mother's 
fortune, so that life began well with these happy young 
people. To assist in the spending of what was then 
a fine income, there were numberless relations on both 
sides to bring gay spirits, a good deal of talent, a good 
deal of beauty, with healthy appetites to the hospitable 
board where they were so welcome. Bachelor friends, 
too, were not wanting, and as at that time gentlemen 
seldom reappeared in the drawing-room after dinner, 
they made, as the wine merchant thought, excellent use 
of their freedom from ladies' society. 

My memory, however, does not go back to these 
scenes, it is very indistinct as to all that happened 
before I was four years old. I remember nothing of 


Edinburgh but a certain waggon full of black sacks 
which represented coals, which I vainly attempted to 
pull or push up some steps in the garden, and which 
I think was taken from me for crying, so that its 
possession must have been very near my baby 
heart when the impression was so vivid. I have a 
dreamy recollection of beating a boy in a red jacket 
who was playing with me, and of shutting up 
another in some cupboard, while I went about with 
his drum which he had refused me. My victims 
were my regular companions, the children of the houses 
on each side of us ; the red jacket was the present Sir 
George Sinclair, agricultural Sir John's eldest son, and 
the drum boy was poor little Johnny Redfearn, who 
died at five years of age, to the abiding grief of his 
parents ; he was the last survivor of their once well-filled 
nursery. Beyond this, I have no remembrance of 
Charlotte Square, which, considering that I was but 
three years and a half old when we left it for ever, is 
not surprising. 

Of the Highlands, that dear home of all our young 
hearts, I have more perfect glimmerings. My father 
and mother had spent there the summer following my 
birth, and I fancy the winter also, and the next summer, 
at the end of which, in September, my brother William 
was born. I had been named Elizabeth after my two 
grandmothers and two aunts, one of each side, Mrs 
Leitch and Mrs Frere. William Patrick was called 
after both grandfathers, and my great-uncle Rothie, 
whom my father had immediately succeeded. He was 
christened by the Presbyterian parson, and nursed by 
my mother, so that perhaps that nursing winter was 
the one they all spent at the Doune, with my two 
aunts, Mrs Frere and Mrs Bourne, then Lissy Grant 
and Mary Ironside, for company. 

It was when I was weaned there had come a tall 
randy kind of woman from Forres, a " Meg Merrilies," 
to take care of me; our much-loved Betty Glass in 
those days, Betty Campbell afterwards when she 
married the grieve. She had William from his birth, 


[To face page 6. 


and to test the strength of the young heir, she gave him, 
before she washed him, a spoonful of gin in Highland 
fashion, which medicine he survived to my great sorrow ; 
for spoiled as I had been, the darling of so many, I so 
much disliked the arrival of this brother near the 
throne, that I very early tried to make away with him. 
One day that I had been left alone in his room before 
his dressing time I seized his clothes, which had been 
all stitched together and laid upon the bed ready to 
put on him, and carrying the bundle to the fire tried to 
throw it on the flaming peats, saying with all the spite 
of a baby not a year and a half old, " Dere ! burn ! 
nassy sing ! " which exclamation brought in an aunt, 
horror-struck. But all this is hearsay. Of my own 
impressions I have a clear recollection of some West 
Indian seeds, pretty, red and shiny, with black spots on 
them, sweet-smelling beans, and a variety of small 
shells, all of which were kept in a lower drawer of a 
japanned dressing-table in my mother's room, for the 
purpose, it appeared to me, of my playing with them. 

I recollect also the bookcases in my father's study, 
a set of steps by which he used to reach the upper 
shelves, and up which I used to climb in terror, not of 
a fall, but of being set in the corner as a punishment 
a fox-tail for dusting, and a dark place in the wall 
where the peats were kept, so that I think while my 
mother was taken up with her baby boy I must have 
been the companion of my father. 

I remember building materials lying about, an old 
woman with a wooden leg warning me from some 
mischief, and a lady in a blue gown assisting me to 
play see-saw, she and I sitting on the ends of a plank 
laid across a trestle, and a clapping of hands around 
answering my laughter. I have also a painful remem- 
brance of a very tearful parting from our dear Betty, 
who declined accompanying us when we left the 

All these clearer visions of the past must relate to 
a summer spent in the Highlands after the birth of my 
sister Jane, which took place in Edinburgh in the 

8 IN BURY PLACE [1800-1802 

month of June of the year 1800. I do not imagine we 
ever returned to Charlotte Square afterwards. 

My mother nursed Jane herself, and Betty, 
unassisted, took charge of us all three. Our nursery at 
the Doune was the room at the head of the back-stairs 
my mother afterwards took for her own ; it had two 
windows looking towards Inverdruie, a fire on the 
hearth, two wooden cribs made by Donald Maclean, 
a cot cradle, a press bed for Betty into which we all of 
us scrambled every morning, a creepie apiece for 
William and me, and a low table of suitable height on 
which our porridge was set in the mornings. I hated 
mine, and Betty used to strew brown sugar over it to 
make it more palatable. She washed us well, dressed 
us after a fashion, set us to look at pictures while she 
tidied the room, and then set ofT out of doors, where 
she kept us all day. We were a great deal in the fields 
with John Campbell the grieve, and we talked to every- 
body we met, and Betty sang to us and told us fairy 
tales, and made rush crowns for us, and kept us as 
happy as I wish all children were. I don't feel that I 
remember all these details, there is just an idea of some 
of them fixed by after-allusions. 

In the winter of 1802, after a season of all blank, I 
wake up in a gloomy house in London in Bury Place; 
there were no aunts, no Betty, a cross nurse, Mrs Day, 
who took us to walk somewhere where there was gravel, 
and nothing and nobody to play with ; the few objects 
round us new and disagreeable. William and Jane 
were kept in great order by Mrs Day. William she 
bullied. Jane she was fond of; everybody was fond of 
Jane, she was always so good ; me she did not like, I 
was so self-willed. I therefore gave her very little of 
my company, but spent most of my time with Mrs 
Lynch, my mother's maid, an Englishwoman who had 
been with us some time, engaged in London soon after 
my mother's marriage when they first visited Thorley 
Hall. Mrs Lynch taught me to sew, for I was always 
very fond of my needle and my scissors too. I shaped 
and cut out and stitched up my doll's clothes from 


very early days. I used to read to her too, she was so 
good-natured ! I fancy my aunts had taught me to 
read, though I do not remember this or them up to 
this date. 

My books had gaudy paper backs, red, and green, 
and all manner of colours, with dashes of gold dabbled 
on, in size vigesimo quartos, paper coarse, printing 
black, and the contents enchanting; Puss in Boots, 
Riquet with the Tuft, Blue Beard, Cinderella, The Genii 
and the Fisherman ; and in a plain marble cover on 
finer paper, full of prints, a small history of Rome, where 
one print so shocked me Tullia in her car riding over 
the body of her father that I never would open that 
classic page again. 

It is here in Bury Place that the first distinct 
notion of the appearance of my parents presents itself; 
I see my father in his study at a table writing ; a little 
sallow man without any remarkable feature, his hair all 
drawn back over his head, powdered and tied in a queue 
with a great bow of black ribbon. He has on drab- 
coloured stocking pantaloons and little boots up to the 
knee, from the two-pointed front of which dangles a 
tassel. The last Duke of Gloucester wore the very 
dittoes, stocking pantaloons and all, when we saw him 
in the year 1832 at Cheltenham. ' Strange, as this figure 
rises before my mental eye, it is one which always 
produces recollections of happiness, for my father's 
voice was the herald of joy to us children, he was the 
king of all our romping plays, had always something 
agreeable to say, and even when too much occupied to 
attend to us, would refuse our petitioning faces with a 
kindness and an air of truthful regret so sympathetic 
that he gave us nearly as much pleasure as if he could 
have assented. There was a charm in his manner I 
have never known any one of any age or station capable 
of resisting, and which my dear sister Mary inherited. 
My mother, though accounted such a handsome person, 
impresses my memory much less agreeably. A very 
small mouth, dark hair curling all over her head in a 
bush close to her eyes, white shapeless gowns, apparently 


bundled up near the chin without any waist visible, her 
form extended on the sofa, a book in her hands, and a 
resident nervous headache which precluded her from 
enduring noise, is the early recollection that remains 
with me concerning her. She had probably been ill in 
Bury Place, which had contributed to make our 
residence there so melancholy. 

The reason for our removal from Edinburgh to 
London was my father's having determined on giving 
up the Scotch for the English bar. Why, with his large 
fortune, and plenty to do both on his Highland and his 
Hertfordshire properties, he should have followed any 
profession but that of managing them, nobody could 
very well tell ; but as his wish was to be a great lawyer, 
some of his dear friends, in whose way he stood in 
Edinburgh, easily persuaded him that his abilities were 
too superior to be frittered away in a mere provincial 
town, and that Westminster Hall was the only sphere 
for such talents the road to St Stephen's ! the fit arena 
for display ! I have often thought my poor mother's 
headaches had something to do with all these mistakes 
of her young, much-loved husband. She had certainly, 
as far as I remember, very little of his company, only 
just during dinner, and for the little while he sat to 
drink his wine afterwards. William and I always came 
to them at that time, and when my mother went up to 
the drawing-room to make the tea we two went on 
further to bed. Though so young, we were always sent 
upstairs by ourselves to our nursery at the top of the 
house in the dark ; that is, we had no candle, but a 
glimmering of light fell in rays on the windings of the 
crooked stairs from a lamp on some landing above. On 
the small gallery on the second floor, which we had to 
pass on our ascent to our attics, there stood a big hair 
trunk into which I had often seen Mrs Lynch dive for 
various necessaries required in her needlework. Poor 
William, who was kept in the nursery by Mrs Day, and 
who during his periodical descents and ascents seldom 
looked beyond his own two little feet, which he had 
some difficulty in placing and pulling up and down after 


[To face page 10. 


him while she was tugging him along by whichever 
unfortunate arm she happened to have hold of, had 
never noticed in the sunlight this object, which appear- 
ing large and dark in the gloomy evenings, and feeling 
rough to the touch, he took for a wild beast, the wolf, in 
fact, which had eaten Red Riding Hood. He began at 
first to shrink, and then to shudder, and then to stop, 
till soon I could not get him past the trunk at all. Our 
delay being noticed by Mrs Day, that enlightened 
person, on being informed of the cause, took upon 
herself to put an end to all such nonsense in a summary 
manner. She shook me out of the way, and well 
thumped poor William. The next night the terrors of 
the journey and his probable warm reception at the end 
of it so worked upon the poor child's mind that he 
became quite nervous long before his bedtime, and this 
sort of agony increased so much in the course of a day 
or two that my father noticed it ; but as we kept our 
secret faithfully our misery continued a little longer, till 
my father, certain there was something wrong, followed 
us as hand and hand we very slowly withdrew. He 
found William stifling his sobs and trembling in every 
limb some steps below the fatal landing, and I, with my 
arm round him, kissing him and trying to encourage 
him to proceed. My father called for lights, and 
without a word of anger or mockery showed his boy 
the true nature of this object of dread. He was led 
gently to it, to look at it, feel it, sit on it, see it 
opened, not only then, but in the morning ; and though 
we had still to go to bed by ourselves, the drawing-room 
door was henceforward left open till our little steps were 
heard no more. 

About this time, that is, during the course of the two 
years which followed our arrival in London, various 
perceptions dawned on my young mind to which I can 
prefix no date, neither can I remember the order in 
which I learned them. My aunt Lissy became known 
to me. She had lived generally with my father since 
his marriage ; it was her home ; but though she was the 
lady in the blue gown, I have no distinct idea of her 


before this, when she returned from some visit she had 
been paying and brought to Jane and me a pretty 
basket each. Mine went to bed with me, was settled at 
my feet that I might see it the first thing in the morn- 
ing. I see it now, as plainly as then, an oval open 
basket of fine straw, not by any means small, and with 
a handle apparently tied on by two knots of blue ribbon. 

In the summer of this year we must have gone to 
Tunbridge Wells, for I remember perfectly a house 
near the common there where we were allowed to run 
about all day, and where to our delight we found some 
heather which we greeted as an old friend. I recollect 
too a green paper on the walls of the room in which I 
slept covered all over with sprigs in a regular pattern, 
that it amused me extremely to wake up in the morning 
and fall a-counting. In the autumn we must have gone 
to Eastbourne, for I remember the seashore, splashing 
my feet into the cool green water in the little pools 
between the rocks, picking up seaweed, star-fish, and 
jelly blobs, and filling my dear basket with quantities of 
shells. At some inn on our way to or from one of these 
places, while we little people were at our bread-and-milk 
supper at one table, and the elders at their dinner at 
another, we were all startled by the sounds of a beautiful 
voice outside, clear and sweet and tuneful, singing 
" Over the mountains and over the moors, Hungry and 
barefoot I wander forlorn." It was one of the fashion- 
able ballads of the day out of a favourite farce " No 
song no supper," I think, and not inappropriate to the 
condition of the poor creature who was wandering 
about singing it My father opened the window and 
threw out " some charity," when the " kind gentlefolks " 
were rewarded by another verse which enabled me to 
pick up the air, and it became my favourite for many a 
month to come, piped in a childish treble very unlike 
the silvery tones I had learned it from. 

William and I were taken to see a ruin near 
Eastbourne, and what was called the field of Battle 
Abbey, and my mother, in that sack of a white gown 
with a little hat stuck round with bows of ribbon on one 


side of her head, showed us the spot where brave King 
Harold fell, for she was a Saxon in name and feeling, 
and in her historical lessons she never omitted the 
scanty praise she could now and then bestow faithfully 
on the race she gloried in descending from. It is 
curious that I have no recollection of learning anything 
from anybody except this, by chance as it were, though 
I have understood I was a little wonder, my aunts hav- 
ing amused themselves in making a sort of show of me. 
I read well at three years old, had long ballads off by 
heart, counted miraculously, danced heel and toe, the 
Highland fling, and Highland shuffle, and sang, perched 
upon the table, ever so many Scotch songs, " Toming 
soo ze eye" and such like, to the amusement of the 
partial assembly. I fancy I was indebted to aunt Mary 
for these higher accomplishments ; counting I know my 
aunt Lissy taught me, with a general notion of the four 
first rules of arithmetic by the help of little bags of 
beans, which were kept in one of the compartments of 
an immense box full of all sorts of tangible helps to 
knowledge. My further progress might have been 
checked had my father and mother been so unwise as 
to carry out an intention they frequently reverted to : 
that of going over from Eastbourne to France. The 
short peace with France had been signed early in the 
year. I can remember the illuminations in London on 
account of it. On a clear day the French coast was 
distinctly visible through a telescope from Eastbourne, 
and so many fishing-boats came over with cheap 
poultry, eggs, and other market wares that people were 
quite bit with a wish to make so short a voyage. Some 
that did never returned, war having been declared 
again, and Buonaparte retaining all travellers unlucky 
enough to have trusted themselves to his ill-temper. 

Before Christmas we were established in the tall 
house in Lincoln's Inn Fields, which continued for ten 
years to be the principal home of the family. 1803 
therefore saw us settled in this new abode, where our 
fine, airy nurseries, though reached at the expense of a 
weary climb, were a delightful change from the gloom 


of Bury Place. We had the Square to play in, were 
allowed to run about there without a maid, and soon 
made acquaintance with plenty of children as well 
pleased with new companions as ourselves. From this 
time our town life was never an unhappy one. In the 
winter my aunt Mary, who had been away, returned 
with aunt Fanny, my mother's only other unmarried 
sister. They remained some months, which we children 
liked. Aunt Mary was dearly loved by us all ; she 
knew how to manage, us, could amuse without letting 
us plague her an art poor aunt Fanny did not under- 
stand so well. My mother's youngest brother, my 
uncle Edward, who was pursuing his studies at Woolwich 
with the intention of proceeding to India, spent his 
vacations frequently with us. Besides these there were 
Highland cousins innumerable, who, on their periodical 
flights from the wild hills where they could find nothing, 
to the broad world where they never failed to gather 
plenty if they lived, were sure of a resting-place with 
my father on their passage. It was a strange household 
for London, this hotel for all relations. We were 
playthings for every one, and perhaps a little more made 
of than was good for all of us. 

Amongst other indulgences this spring I was taken 
twice to the play, and once to Sadler's Wells with 
William. The first play was "The Caravan." John 
Kemble acted in it ; the lover, and a very lugubrious 
one he seemed to be. The actor that delighted me was 
a dog, a real Newfoundland trained to leap into a 
cataract and bring dripping out of the water, real water, 
a doll representing a child which had spoken in the 
scene a few minutes before, and had then appeared to 
be dropped by a lady in distress while flying across a 
plank up at the top of the stage, the only bridge across 
the torrent. They could not persuade me the doll was 
not the real child : I thought it dead, drowned, and 
cried and sobbed so violently I was hardly to be 
pacified, not till all the audience had been attracted 
by the noise. The other play was " The Busy Body." 
Bannister in all sorts of scrapes, doing mischief 


continually from over-officiousness, hid in a chimney, 
discovered when least welcome, etc., a collection of 
contretemps that fidgeted and annoyed much more than 
they amused me. The horsemanship with the tumblers, 
rope dancers, etc., frightened me. William, little as he 
was, was in ectasies. 

In the month of May of this year, 1803, on the 2ist, 
in the evening, my sister Mary was born. From this 
point I date all my perfect recollections ; all that 
happened stands clearly before me now at the end of a 
long life as if that one event had wakened up a sleeping 
intellect. It was indeed a matter of moment to me, for 
in some way the new baby and I were thrown upon each 
other from her birth. Jane was so engrossingly the pet 
of my mother and the companion of my brother, that 
she was less my associate than the mere difference in 
our ages warranted. My father was always busy, my 
mother generally ill, William, the heir, was the child of 
consequence to all the family connections, more noticed, 
of course, by them than either of us his sisters. I was 
not romp enough for him, so that he did not seek me 
unless Jane was out of the way ; therefore when my 
aunts were away I was often lonely. The baby just 
suited me for a playmate, to watch her, amuse her, help 
to attend upon her, and by and by to work for her and 
teach her, were my delight, and as I was six years old 
when she was born, I was quite a little mother to her, 
preferring her infinitely to the dolls which had hitherto 
chiefly occupied me. 

My mother had been alarmingly ill after the birth of 
this her finest child. She had lost the use of her limbs, 
and was carried up and down stairs, and to and from the 
carriage, when she took her airings. As my father found 
it necessary to go to the Highlands in the summer, and 
had to attend circuit somewhere in the north of 
England, it was resolved that she and we should have a 
few weeks of sea-bathing at Scarborough on our way ; 
a sort of couch was contrived for her, on which she lay 
comfortably in the large berline we had hitherto used, 
and which the four horses must have found heavy 


enough when weighted with all its imperials, hat boxes, 
and the great hair trunk that had been poor William's 
terror. Mrs Lynch and Mackenzie, who had been my 
father's valet before he married, were on the outside ; 
my father, Jane, and I within with my mother, and we 
travelled with our own horses ridden by two postillions 
in green jackets and jockey caps, leaving London, I 
think, in July. In the heavy post-chariot behind were 
the two nurses, the baby in a swinging cot, William, 
who was too riotous to be near my mother, and a foot- 
man in charge of them. What it must have cost to 
have carried such a party from London to the 
Highlands ! and how often we travelled that north 
road ! Every good inn became a sort of home, every 
obliging landlord or landlady an old friend. We had 
cakes here, a garden with a summer-house there, a 
parrot farther on, all to look forward to on every 
migration, along with the pleasant flatteries on our 
growth and our looks of health ; as if such a train would 
not have been greeted joyously by every publican ! 
We travelled slowly, thirty miles a day on an average, 
starting late and stopping early, with a bait soon after 
noon, when we children dined. I forget when we 
reached Scarborough, nor can I recollect any particular 
impression made by the town itself or the country 
around, but I do remember feeling astonishment at the 
sight of the sea, and also surprise and annoyance who 
would have believed this in such a child ? at our not 
having a whole house to ourselves, but lodging in the 
lower and very upper part of a house, the rest of which 
was occupied by the family of Sir Thomas Liddell. 
Another merry set of children to play with might have 
reconciled me to the humiliation of sharing our 
temporary abode with our neighbour, had we been 
able to secure such companions as the first few days 
promised. Overtures on both parts were answered on 
both parts, and Lady Williamson, Lady Normanby, 
Lady Harrington, and two little white-faced brothers 
had arrived at blowing soap-bubbles most merrily with 
William and me. When laughing too loud one 


unfortunate morning, our respective attendants were 
attracted by the uproar and flew to separate us. They 
shook us well, Grants and Liddells, scolded us well, and 
soon divided us, wondering what our mammas would 
say at our offering to make strange acquaintance, when 
we knew we were forbidden to speak to any one they 
did not know; so we Grants used to listen to the 
Liddells, who monopolised the garden, and to their 
mother who played delightfully on the harp, and amuse 
ourselves as we best could, alone. 

A company of strolling-players happening to arrive 
in the town, William and I were taken to see them ; 
the state of their playhouse astonished us not a little. 
The small dirty house, though wretchedly lighted, 
brought the audience and the stage so close together 
that the streaks of paint on the actors' faces were 
plainly visible, also the gauze coverings on the necks 
and arms of the actresses ; then the bungling machinery, 
the prompter's voice, the few scenes and the shabby 
scene-shifters, all so revealed the business that illusion 
there was none, and we who at Drury Lane and Astley's 
and Covent Garden had felt ourselves transported to 
fairyland, were quite pained by the preparations for 
deception which the poor strollers so clumsily betrayed 
to us. The play was Rosina, an opera, and the prima 
donna so old, so wrinkled, so rouged, that had she 
warbled like my own Janey she would have been ill- 
selected as the heroine ; but she sang vilely, screamed, 
and I must have thought so, for I learned none of her 
songs, and I generally picked up every air I heard. 

Soon after the play I was laid up with scarlet fever, 
which I notice as I had it twice afterwards, and have 
had returns of the scarlatina throat all my life. 

Upon leaving Scarborough we proceeded to 
Houghton, where I must have been before, as many 
changes in the place struck me. I have no recollection, 
however, of a former visit ; as I remember it from this 
one, the village consisted of one long, wide, straggling, 
winding street, containing every variety of house, from 
the hall standing far back beyond the large courtyard, 



and the low, square, substantial mansion even with the 
road, to the cottage of every size. A few shops here 
and there offered a meagre supply of indifferent wares. 
About the middle of the village was the church half 
concealed by a grove of fine old trees, the Rectory, and 
the then celebrated boys' school near it. The finest- 
looking of the court-dignified halls belonged to the 
Nesham family, from amongst whom my grandfather 
Ironside had chosen his wife. She had had but to 
move across the little street to the most ancient-looking 
of the low substantial houses which offered a long 
double row of windows and a wide doorway to the 
dusty path, protected only by posts and chains from 
the close approach of passengers. A kitchen wing had 
been added on one side ; behind this were piled the 
roofs of the 9ffices. A clump of old trees sheltered the 
east end. A large well-filled garden at the back 
stretched down a long slope to a small brook that 
drained the neighbouring banks, and all around lay the 
fields that had descended from father to son, they said, 
for at least 700 years. In this quiet abode my grand- 
mother Ironside had passed her life of trials. Children 
came fast and noisy, funds were small, and my grand- 
father, a hospitable, careless man, left his farm to his 
man Jacky Bee, his tithes to his clerk, Cuddy Kitson, 
his children to the pure air of his fields, and his wife to 
herself and her cares as soon as he found it pleasanter 
to be elsewhere ; he was rather an increase than a help 
to her difficulties, and for ten years the poor man was 
bedrid, paying assistants to do his duty, thus further 
diminishing the little my grandmother could reckon on 
for the support of their numerous offspring. Only nine 
of her fifteen children grew up to be provided for ; my 
mother and three sisters, the eldest of whom was 
married when very young to Mr Leitch ; the eldest son, 
my uncle William, went early into the army ; uncle 
Ralph was in the law, my uncles John and Edmund 
were taken into Mr Leitch's counting-house ; uncle 
Edward was a boy at school when my grandfather died. 
His wife did not long survive him, she lived but to 


bless me ; and in the old family house at Houghton she 
had been succeeded by a pretty young woman of most 
engaging manners but small fortune, who had persuaded 
my uncle William to give up his profession for her sake, 
and in the full vigour of his manhood to settle down on 
the few acres he had not the skill to make productive, 
and which in a less luxurious age had been found 
insufficient for the wants of a family. 

My mother always went to Houghton well provided 
with trifling presents for her numerous connections 
there. There had never been any lack of daughters 
in the house of the reigning Ironside, and they formed 
quite a Saxon colony by their marriages. We had a 
great-aunt Blackburn, Horseman, Potter, Goodchild, 
with cousins to match, all the degradations in name 
possible bestowed on the serf Saxon by his conquering 
Norman lord with one redeeming great-aunt Griffith, 
who, however, had never recovered caste among her 
relations for her misalliance with, I believe, a school- 
master, though had they followed my clever Welsh 
great-uncle to his mountains his maligners might have 
heard of a princely ancestry. 

Two maiden sisters of this generation, my great- 
aunts Peggy and Elsie, lived in the village in a square 
low house very near to, and very like my uncle's, but it 
stood back from the road, and was kept delightfully 
dark by some large elm trees which grew in front in a 
courtyard. This retreat was apparently sacred to the 
ancient virgins of the family, for their aunts Patience 
and Prudence had been established there before them. 
I hardly remember these old ladies, aunt Elsie not at 
all, though it was in their house that Jane and I were 
domiciled. Aunt Peggy made more impression, she 
was fat, rosy, merry, idle, told funny stories, made faces, 
and winked her eyes at good jokes when sometimes 
her laughing listeners rather blushed for her. My 
mother was much more attached to her aunt Nesham, 
the only and the maiden sister of her mother; her 
house was just opposite to my uncle's, and it was the 
home of my two unmarried Ironside aunts, Mary and 


Fanny. Aunt Jane Nesham was a charming little old 
lady with powdered hair turned over a cushion, and a 
little white muslin turban stuck up on the top of it. 
She wore tight-fitting cross-folded gowns with full 
skirts, the whitest and the clearest of muslin kerchiefs 
puffed over her neck, a row of pearls round her throat, 
and high-heeled shoes. Her house was order itself, her 
voice gentle and her smile the sweetest. She had been 
in the Highlands with my father and mother before my 
recollection. The cousins Nesham lived in the village, 
at least the then head of the family with one or two of 
his unmarried sisters and a young wife. Mrs Griffith 
and a disagreeable daughter had a small house there, 
and the clergyman, the schoolmaster, the doctor and 
Squire Hutton, and there was a populous neighbour- 
hood. Such was Houghton as I first remember it 
How different from what it is now I There are no gentry, 
the few neat rows of pitmen's houses have grown into 
streets belonging to a town. It is all dirt and bustle 
and huge machinery and tramways, one of which cuts 
through the fields of the Ironside inheritance. These 
frightful tramways were our childish delight ; such a 
string of waggons running along without horses 
reminded us of our fairy tales, and the splendid fires 
blazing on all sides enchanted us, after the economical 
management of scanty fuel we had been accustomed to 
in London. We liked our young cousins too, three or 
four of whom were old enough to play with us. 

The next stoppage on our northern journey was at 
Edinburgh, where we remained long enough for an 
abiding impression of that beautiful city to be made on 
a young mind. The width of the streets, the size of the 
houses, the brightness and the cleanliness, with the 
quantity of gooseberries to be bought for a penny, 
impressed me before I was capable of appreciating the 
grandeur of its position. It was then very far from 
being what it became a few years later, how very very 
far from what we see it now 1 The New Town was but 
in progress, the untidy appendages of building 
encumbered the half-finished streets, and where after- 

1803] UNCLE SANDY 21 

wards the innumerable gardens spread in every quarter 
to embellish the city of palaces, there were then only 
unsightly greens abandoned to the washerwomen. My 
father had always business to detain him here. We 
put up at Blackwood's Hotel, at the corner of the North 
Bridge in Princes Street. 

The Queen's Ferry was the next /aWmark, to speak 
in Irish fashion ; no steamer in those days, no frame to 
run the carriage on from quay to deck. Ugly, dirty, 
miserable sailing vessels, an hour at the quickest 
crossing, sometimes two or three, it was the great 
drawback to the journey. The landing at Inverkeithing 
was as disagreeable as the embarking, as tedious too ; 
we seldom got beyond Kinross that night, where 
Queen Mary, the Castle, the lake, red trout, and a 
splendid parrot all combined to make it one of our 
favourite resting-places. At Perth we were always 
met by my father's only surviving uncle, Sandy, the 
parson, his mother the Lady Jean's favourite son, and 
her youngest. He was of the Episcopalian Church, and 
had at this time the care of a chapel at Dundee. He 
was a popular preacher, had published very fair sermons, 
was an accomplished person for his times, gentlemanly 
in manner, taller than the "little Grants," more of a 
Gordon, in fact, in appearance. He had had a good 
deal to do with my father's education, and his own five 
ill-brought-up sons had been my father's principal 
companions towards his college days. My mother 
never thought kindly of this uncle, to whom my father 
was much attached. She judged him perhaps harshly, 
an easiness of temper may have been fully as much the 
cause of the loose discipline he maintained as want of 
principle, to which she ascribed his errors. 

It took us three days to reach home from Perth, 
Blackbird, Smiler, and their pairs (whose names I have 
not remembered) who met us there, not being in as 
great a hurry to return to the Doune as we were. 
There was no good ford near the house in those days, 
the shifting river not having revealed the rather deep 
one near the offices that we used so constantly after- 


wards ; besides, there was then no road from the 
bridge of Alvie down the heathery bank to the boyack 
and so round its shallow waters to the river-side. We 
had to drive on, after a good peep of our dear home, 
two or three miles past the burn at Lynwilg, towards 
Aviemore, and then turn off down a seldom-travelled 
road through the birch woods I smell them now to 
the ford at Inverdruie, where there was a carriage-boat 
at the ferry a little higher up the stream, so that 
travellers could cross in all states of the river. 

Once over the water we were at home in Rothie- 
murchus, our beloved Duchus, 1 which, through all the 
changes of our lives, has remained the spot on earth 
dearest to every one of us. We have been scattered far 
and wide, separated, never now all to meet again ; we 
have grown up and married and have had new interests 
engrafted on our old feelings, and have changed our 
homes and changed all our surroundings, and most of 
us have lived long, busy years far away from the High- 
lands, yet have we never any one of us ceased to feel 
that there was the magnet to which all our purest, 
warmest, earliest, and latest affections were steadily 
drawn. No other spot ever replaced it, no other scenery 
ever surpassed it, no other young happiness ever 
seemed to approach within a comprehensible distance 
of our childhood at Rothiemurchus. 

1 A Gaelic word having much the same signification as domain. 
The crest of the family is an armed hand holding a broadsword, 
with the motto " For my Duchus." 


IT was in July or August then in 1803 we crossed the 
Spey in the big boat at Inverdruie in a perfect fever of 
happiness. Every mountain, every hill, every bank, 
fence, path, tree, cottage was known to me, every face 
we met revealed a friend, and our acquaintance was by 
no means limited, for the " wide plain of the fir trees," 
which lies in the bosom of the Grampians, cut off by 
the rapid Spey from every neighbour, has its beautiful 
variety of mountain scenery, its heights, its dells, and 
glens, its lakes and plains and haughs, and it had then 
its miles and miles of dark pine forest through which 
were little clearings by the side of rapid burnies, and 
here and there a sawmill. We were expected, so from 
the boathouse to the Doune it was one long gathering, 
all our people flocking to meet us and to shout the 
" welcome home " ; the only time that I remember so 
great an assemblage to meet us on our arrival, the 
custom becoming obsolete, warm and hearty as it was. 
William and I knew every one, remembered everything. 
Our dear Betty waited for us at the house anxiously ; 
she had married the grieve, John Campbell, and was 
now a great lady in her high cap and shawl, and she 
had a baby to show us, a little daughter, the only child 
she ever had, called after me, to whom I was bringing a 
real silver coral with more than the usual complement 
of bells. Betty had been left in charge of the house, 
and beautifully clean she delivered it. We thought the 
floors so white, the polish so bright, the beds so snowy, 


all so light, so airy, our nursery so enchanting with its 
row of little plain deal stools creepies and our own 
dear low table, round which we could ourselves place 
them. We were certainly easily pleased with anything 
Highland, for a less luxurious abode than the charm- 
ingly situated Doune at that date could hardly have 
been the residence of a lady and gentleman. 

It took its name from a long low hill in the form of 
a boat with its keel upwards, at the end of which it had 
been rather ill-advisedly built, and which had been 
fortified in the ruder days when the dwelling of our 
ancestors had been upon the top of it. I never' saw the 
vestige of a ruin there, but the moat is perfect, and two 
or three steep terraces along the side. When improv- 
ing times permitted our ancestors to descend from their 
Doune, a formal Scotch house was built at the foot of it, 
with a wide door in the centre, over which were 
emblazoned the arms in a shield, and as many narrow 
windows were stuck in rows over the wall as were 
required to light the rooms within. A kitchen built of 
black turf was patched on to one end ; it had an open 
chimney and bare rafters overhead. A green duck- 
pond and such offices as were at the period necessary 
were popped down anywhere in front and all round, 
wherever and whenever they were wanted. There were 
a barn, a smithy, and a carpenter's shop and poultry- 
houses, all in full view from the principal rooms, as was 
the duck-pond. A perfect network of sluggish streams, 
backwater from the Spey, crept round a little knot of 
wooded islands close at hand, and a garden lay at the 
foot of the hill. My uncle Rothie had not latterly lived 
here ; he had married a very delicate woman, a daughter 
of Mr Grant of Elchies, commonly known as a Lord of 
Session by his legal title of Lord Elchies. She had 
persuaded him that the situation of this old family 
mansion was unhealthy, which, considering all the wood 
and water on this side of the Spey, and the swamp of 
the boyack on the other, was probably a correct opinion. 
He had therefore built at Inverdruie, to please her, a 
modern mansion very like a crab with four extended 


claws, for there was a dumpy centre to live in, with four 
low wings, one at each corner, for offices ; and this was 
set down on a bare heath, with a small walled garden 
behind and a pump standing all alone a little way off in 
front. Here with them my father had spent his 
boyhood, always, however, preferring the Doune, which 
had been, when deserted, let to various half-uncles and 
second cousins, retired half-pay captains and lieutenants, 
who all, after their wandering youth, returned to farm 
out their old age in the Highlands. A few years before 
his death my grandfather, the Doctor, had taken 
possession of it, and anticipating a much longer tenure, 
undertook many improvements. To the end of the old 
house opposite the black kitchen he stuck an outrigger 
of an overwhelming size, containing a cellar to which 
the descent was by stone steps outside, a large dining- 
room on the ground-floor, and a couple of good bed- 
rooms above reached by a turning-stair; as an 
additional object from the windows he erected a high 
stable, where as long as it stood my brother William 
spent his leisure, and he increased the old garden, laid 
it out anew, and stocked it from Hertfordshire. The 
entrance to this paradise of our childhood was by a 
white gate between two cherry trees such cherry trees 
large white heart, still standing there to prove my 
taste, and by no means dwarfish, even beside the fine 
row of lime trees that extended on either side. The 
old house had a few low rooms on the ground-floor with 
many dark closets ; the principal apartment was on the 
first floor, and reached by a wide and easy stair ; the 
family bedroom was on the one hand, a large hall on 
the other for the reception of guests, and the state 
bedroom through it. Up in the attics, beneath the 
steep grey roof, were little rooms again. This was the 
Highland home to which my mother had been brought 
a bride. 

I imagine that the furniture had been very much 
suited to the style of the house ; there was some plate, 
some fine old china and glass, and a few valuables of 
little use but as curiosities. The state bed and bedroom 


were curtained with rich green silk damask heavily 
fringed, and the japanned toilet-table in which was my 
drawer of shells with a mirror to match, and number- 
less boxes, trays, and baskets of japanned ware 
belonged to this chamber; the other rooms were, I 
fancy, rather bare. There was, however, never any lack 
of living furniture. My mother found established there 
my great-uncle Sandy with his English wife, her sister, 
and all their carpet work, two of the five sons, an old 
Donald a faithful servant of my grandfather's, who 
had been pensioned for his merits an old Christy, who 
had gone from Strathspey to wait on my father and my 
aunt Lissy, and their bonne good Mrs Sophy Williams. 
She had her pension and her attic, and so had Mr 
Dallas, one of the line of tutors, when he chose to come 
to it. Then there were college friends, bachelor cousins, 
and it was the fashion of the country for any of the 
nearer neighbours, when they came in their full dress 
to pay their occasional morning visits, to expect to be 
pressed to remain the day, often the night, as the 
distances are considerable in that thinly-peopled 
district. My father and mother never wanted for 
company, and the house was as full of servants as an 
Indian or an Irish one, strange, ignorant creatures, 
running about in each other's way, wondering at the 
fine English maids who could make so little of them. 
Amongst the rest was a piper, who, for fear of spoiling 
the delicacy of the touch of his fingers, declined any 
work unconnected with whisky, which with plenty of 
oat-bread and cheese was given to all-comers all day 

Most of the farms were occupied by relations, 
Colonel William Grant was at the Croft, Captain Lewis 
at Inverdruie. These were my father's great-uncles. 
Lieutenant Cameron, a cousin, came to Kinapol from 
Kinrara as soon as a former tenant left it. Up in 
Badenoch and down in Strathspey there were endless 
humble connections most attentive in observing the 
visiting customs of the country. Relations at a greater 
distance were not wanting, Cummings in Morayshire, 


Mackenzies in Ross-shire, Grants in Urquhart, etc. Of 
great neighbours there were few. Highland properties 
are so extensive that there can be neither walks nor 
rides in general to the homes of equals. Each pro- 
prietor holds, or held, perhaps I should say, his own 
little court in his own domains. When he paid a 
brother laird a visit it was in a stately manner befitting 
the rareness of the event, and the number of miles he 
had to travel. Our great house then was Castle Grant, 
the residence of our Chief. It was about twenty miles 
off down Speyside. My father and mother were much 
there when they first married, my aunts Mary and 
Lissy delighting in the gaiety of a scene so new to 
them. Generally about fifty people sat down to dinner 
there in the great hall in the shooting season, of all 
ranks. There was not exactly a "below the salt" 
division so marked at the table, but the company at the 
lower end was of a very different description from those 
at the top, and treated accordingly with whisky punch 
instead of wine. Neither was there a distinct " yellow 
drawing-room" party, though a large portion of the 
guests seldom obtruded themselves on the more refined 
section of the company unless on a dancing evening, 
when all again united in the cleared hall. Sir James 
Grant was hospitable in the feudal style ; his house was 
open to all ; to each and all he bade_a hearty welcome, 
and he was glad to see his table filled, and scrupulous 
to pay fit attention to every individual present ; but in 
spite of much cordiality of manner it was all somewhat 
in the king style, the Chief condescending to the Clan, 
above the best of whom he considered himself 
extremely. It was a rough royalty too, plenty, but 
rude plenty, a footman in the gorgeous green and 
scarlet livery behind every chair, but they were mere 
gillies, lads quite untutored, sons of small tenants 
brought in for the occasion, the autumn gathering, and 
fitted into the suit that they best filled. Lady Grant 
was quiet and ladylike, Miss Grant a favourite, the rest 
of the family of less account. This was my mother's 
account to me years afterwards, when all connection 

28 MISS JENNY [1803 

between us and the head of our house had unhappily 

A permanent member of our family at this time 
I must not forget, for I bore her great affection. She 
was indeed very kind to us, and very careful of us the 
few years she remained in the household. She was a 
natural daughter of my grandfather's, born long after 
his wife's death, and had been brought up by his sister 
the Lady Logic. When this great-aunt of mine died, 
" Miss Jenny " removed as matter of course to the 
family asylum, as I may call my father's house. She 
was entrusted with the store-room keys, and was 
employed as a general superintendent of the family 
business till she married, which event, luckily for her, 
poor thing, was not very long delayed. A Forres beau, 
a Mr Arthur Cooper, learned in the law, became her 
husband, and so relieved my mother of one of her 
burdens. It was indeed a strange mixture of ranks and 
positions and interests, of which my mother was the 
head. I do not imagine that it was always harmony 
among them. My parents were both too young, too 
inexperienced, to be very patient with such a hetero- 
geneous assemblage. It might do very well in the 
bright summer weather when an out-door life in the 
pure air occupied all the day and produced a glow of 
spirits for all the night, but there were wintry weeks in 
this gay sphere of theirs, clouds and storms and chills, 
when annoyances gloomed into grievances, and worry 
brought on ill-humour. In those days, unluckily, 
education had not extended to the temper. My 
mother's family cares were principally confined to 
such as she could reach with her needle, in the use of 
which she was very dexterous. As for the rest, 
after the dinner was ordered and the windows opened, 
matters were left very much to the direction of the 

My father was a much more active person, very 
despotic when called on to decide, yet much beloved. 
An eye everywhere, nursery, kitchen, farm, garden, 
tenantry, but not a steady eye, no prevention in it, 


fitful glances seeing sometimes too much, and very 
summary in the punishment of detected offences. 
He was occupied principally at this time with his 
mason and carpenter, as he was making great changes 
in and about the Doune. These changes, indeed, 
employed him most of his life, for he so frequently 
altered in the present year what had been executed the 
year before, that neither he nor his allies, Donald 
Maclean and the Colleys, were ever out of work. The 
changes effected up to this period, the autumn of 1803, 
when we reached our beloved Highland home from 
Scarborough and Houghton, were of some importance. 
My grandfather's outrigger had been heightened and 
lengthened, and carried back beyond the old house, the 
windows in it had all been changed and enlarged, and 
ornamented with cut granite ; in fact, a handsome 
modern wing appeared in place of an ill-contrived ugly 
appendage. It was intended at no very distant time to 
have matched it with another, and to have connected 
the two by a handsome portico, all in front of the old 
house, which would have been entirely concealed, and 
being single, was to have had all its windows turned to the 
back, looking on a neat square of offices, some of which 
were now in progress. My grandfather's new dining- 
room was thus made into a pleasant drawing-room, his 
turning-stair was replaced by an easier one in a hall 
which divided the drawing-room from a new dining- 
room, and in which was the door of entrance to this 
modern part of the house. Above were the spare bed- 
rooms and dressing-rooms, and over them two large 
attics, barrack-rooms, one for the maids, the other for 
visiting maidens, young ladies who in this primitive age 
were quite in the habit of being thus huddled up in 
company. In the old part of the house my father's 
study, the ancient reception hall, had been cut short by 
a window to give him a dressing-room, and the black 
kitchen outside had vanished, much to the satisfaction 
of my mother and Mrs Lynch, who declared no decent 
dinner could by possibility be cooked in it It was 
indeed a rude apology for a set of kitchen offices. A 


mouse one day fell into the soup from the rafters, a 
sample of a hundred such accidents. 

To make room for the new range of servants' rooms, 
part of the end of the hill had to be cut away, spoiling 
entirely the boat shape of our Doune. The soil thus 
removed was thrown into the nearest channel of the 
backwater, it being my father's intention to fill these up 
by degrees; an improvement to which William and I 
were decidedly opposed, for on the broom island, the 
largest of the group amidst this maze of waters, our 
very merriest hours were spent. A couple of wide, 
well-worn planks formed the bridge by which we 
crossed to our Elysian field ; two large alder trees grew 
close to the opposite end of this charming bridge, 
making the shallow water underneath look as dark and 
dangerous as " Annan Water " did to Annie's lover ; an 
additional delight to us. Between the two large alders 
hung in gipsy fashion the large cauldron used for the 
washing; a rude open shed, just sufficient to protect 
the officiating damsels from the weather ; tubs, cogues, 
lippies, a watering-pot and a beetle a bit of wood, 
bottle-shaped, with which the clothes were thumped, 
Indian and French fashion lay all about among the 
yellow broom under the alders and hazels on this happy 
island, the scene of as much mirth and as much fun as 
ever lightened heavy labour, for be it remembered the 
high stable was in very close neighbourhood ! William 
and I were never-failing parts of the merry group, for 
our time was pretty much at our own disposal, Jane 
joining us only occasionally. We two elder ones were 
of an age to say our lessons every day to my mother, 
and we always faithfully learned our twelve words 
that is, I did out of a red-marble-covered book filled 
with columns of words in large, black print ; but my 
mother was not often able to hear us ; sometimes she 
was ill, and sometimes she was busy, and sometimes 
she was from home, and sometimes she had company 
at home, and our lessons had oftentime to be got pretty 
perfect before we were called upon to say them. But 
we had plenty of story books to read on rainy days, 


and we had pleasure in reading to ourselves, for even 
Jane at three years old could read her " Cobwebs to 
catch Flies." I was fond, too, of dressing my doll by 
the side of Mrs Lynch, and of learning to write from 
Mackenzie. On fine days we were always out, either 
by ourselves or with a son of the old gardener, George 
Ross, to attend us. There was also a Highland nursery 
maid and Mrs Acres, the baby's nurse, superintending. 
Amongst them they did not take very good care of us, 
for William was found one sunny morning very near 
the Spey, sailing away in a washing-tub, paddling along 
the backwater with a crooked stick in his hand for an 
oar, and his pocket-handkerchief knotted on to another 
he had stuck between his knees for a flag. A summer- 
set into the rapid river, had he reached it, would have 
made an end of him, but for my voice of rapturous 
delight from the bank where I stood clapping my hands 
at his progress, which directed some one to our doings, 
and thus saved the young laird from his perilous situa- 

So passed our summer days ; we grew strong and 
healthy, and we were very happy, revelling among the 
blackberries on the Doune till we were tattooed^ frocks 
and all, like American Indians ; in the garden, stung 
into objects by the mosquitoes in the fruit bushes ; in 
our dear broom island, or farther off sometimes in the 
forest, gathering cranberries and lying half asleep upon 
the fragrant heather, listening to tales of the fairy 
guardians of all the beautiful scenery around us. I was 
a tall, pale, slight, fair child to look at, but I seldom 
ailed anything. William, fat and rosy and sturdy, was 
the picture of a robust boy. Jane was the beauty, 
small and well formed, with a healthy colour and her 
Ironside eyes. She was the flower of the little flock, 
for Mary was a mere large, white baby, very inanimate, 
nor anyway engaging to any one but my mother, who 
always made the youngest her favourite. 

In winter we returned to Lincoln's Inn Fields, and 
then began our sorrows. Two short walks in the 
Square every day, sauntering behind a new nurse, Mrs 


Millar, who had come to wean the baby ; an illness of 
my mother's, whose room being just beneath our nursery, 
prevented all the noisy plays we loved ; and next, a 
governess, a young timid girl, a Miss Gardiner, quite 
new to her business, who was always in a fright lest 
neither we nor herself were doing right, and whom we 
soon tyrannised over properly; for my father and 
mother and my aunts went to Bath to meet Mr and 
Mrs Leitch, and we were left with this poor Miss 
Gardiner, who from the beginning had always lived up 
in the schoolroom with us, and never entered the 
drawing-room unless invited. How well I remember 
the morning after her arrival. She had charge of 
William, Jane, and me. We were all brought in by 
Mrs Millar and seated together upon a low sofa with- 
out a back which had been made for us. Our school- 
room was the large front nursery, curtained anew and 
carpeted. There were besides the sofa, four chairs, two 
tables, one in the middle of the room, one against the 
wall ; a high fender, of course, two hanging bookcases, 
six framed maps, one on Mercator's projection, which 
we never could understand ; a crib in which William 
slept I slept in my mother's dressing-room, Jane in 
the nursery and between the two windows a large 
office desk, opening on each side, with two high stools 
belonging to it. To increase the enjoyment of this 
prospect, into my hands was put the large edition of 
Lindley Murray's grammar, William was presented 
with " Geography by a Lady for the use of her own 
Children," not one word of which he was capable of 
reading, and Jane who had fine easy times of it in our 
eyes, though I question whether at three years of age 
she thought so had a spelling-book given to her. 
Such was the commencement to us of the year 1804. 
We were soon as thoroughly miserable as from this 
method of instruction our anxious parents could expect. 
The lessons were hard enough and numerous enough, 
considering the mere infants who had to learn them, 
but for my part, though I would rather not have had 
them, they were very little in my way, although the 


notes of the whole music gamut were included, with the 
names of all the keys and the various times, etc., all at 
a blow, as it were. It was never any trouble to me to 
have to get whole pages off by rote ; I was not asked to 
take the further trouble of thinking about them. No 
explanations were either asked or given, so that the 
brain was by no means over-excited, and the writing 
and cyphering and pianoforte lesson which followed 
the drier studies of the morning pleased me exceedingly. 
Hook's easy lessons were soon heard in great style, 
played by ear after the first painful reading, without 
any one but the performer being the wiser. But what 
we wanted was our fun, flying from crib to crib on 
awakening in the morning, dancing in our night-clothes, 
all about the room, making horses of the overturned 
chairs, and acting plays dressed up in old trumpery. 
We had only sedate amusements now. How delighted 
I was to escape sometimes to my aunts, from one of 
whom, aunt Mary, I heard stories, now real, now 
fabulous, always containing some moral, however, which 
I had wit enough to apply silently, as occasion offered. 
By my aunt Lissy I was diverted and instructed 
through the contents of the big box full of every sort of 
object likely to interest a child. 

Poor Miss Gardiner ! She was neither reasoning nor 
reasonable, too young for her situation, without 
sufficient mind, or heart, or experience for it, a mere 
school-girl, which at that time meant a zero ; her system 
of restraint became intolerable, when from the absence 
of the heads of the family we had no relief from it. 
Still a certain awe of a person placed in authority over 
us had prevented our annoying her otherwise than by 
our petulance, till one day that she desired us to remain 
very quiet while she wrote a letter, rather a serious 
business with her; it was to my mother to give an 
account of our health and behaviour. She took a small 
packet of very small pens from a box near her, and a 
sheet of very shiny paper, and after some moments of 
reflection she began. I observed her accurately. 
"What do you call those pretty little pens?" said I. 



" Crow quills, my dear," said she, for she was very kind 
in her manner to us. " William," said I in a low aside, 
" I don't think we need mind her any more, nor learn 
any more lessons, for she can't really teach us. She is a 
fool, / shan't mind her any more." " Very well," said 
William, "nor I, nor I shan't learn my lessons." He 
never yet had learned one, for a more thorough dunce 
in his childish days than this very clever brother of 
mine never performed the part of booby in a village 
school, but it was very disagreeable to him to have to try 
to sit quiet behind a book for half an hour two or three 
times a day, poor child ! He was but five years old, 
and he was of course satisfied with any suggestion that 
would release him. 

Some weeks before, my mother had received a note 
in my father's absence, which appeared greatly to 
irritate her. The contents I did not know, but on my 
father's return she imparted them to him with some 
lively comments to the disparagement of the writer. 
" I always knew she was a fool," cried she, for she spoke 
strongly when excited ; " but I did not expect such an 
extreme proof of her folly." " My dear," said my 
father, in his quietest and calmest manner, " what did 
you expect from a woman who writes on satin paper 
with a crow quill 1 " In my corner with my doll and 
pictures I saw and heard a great deal that passed. 
Miss Gardiner fell her proud height on the day she 
wrote her letter, and she never regained a shadow of 
authority over us, for I led all, even good little Jane. 
Like Sir Robert Peel, Louis XIV., and other dictators,/* 
fus Fttat moi t and respect for our poor governess had 
vanished. The next time the crow quills and satin 
paper occupied her, William and I, provided with the 
necessary strings got ready beforehand, tied her by her 
dress and her feet to the legs of the chair and table, so 
that as she rose from her engrossing composition the 
crash that ensued was astounding, the fright and even 
pain not small. She was extremely agitated, almost 
angry, but so gentle in her expostulations that, like 
Irish servants, we were encouraged to continue a system 


of annoyance that must have made her very uncom- 
fortable. We behaved very ill, there is no doubt of it, and 
she had not any way of putting a stop to our impertin- 
ence. When Mrs Millar found out these proceedings 
and remonstrated, I told her it was of little consequence 
how we acted, as I knew my papa would send her away 
when he came home ; which he did. She was not 
supposed to be equal to the situation, and her father 
came to take her home. The state of anarchy the 
schoolroom exhibited was perhaps as much against her 
as the finely penned account of it, but I have since 
thought that her beauty and my uncle Edward's 
undisguised admiration of it had as much to do with 
her departure as the crow quills. We heard a few years 
afterwards that she had married happily, and had a fine 
set of children of her own who would be all the better 
managed for the apprenticeship she had served with us. 
Uncle Edward was now studying at Woolwich, 
expecting to proceed to India as a cadet. Fortunately 
old Charles Grant was able to change his appointment 
and give him a writership, so he came to us to prepare 
his equipment. Being quite a boy, full of spirits and 
not the least studious, he romped with his little nephew 
and nieces to our hearts' content, particularly after the 
departure of the governess, when William and I resumed 
our spellings with my mother, and Jane roamed " fancy 
free." Lindley Murray and Geography by a Lady 
retired from our world, but a Mr Thompson who was 
teaching uncle Edward mathematics was engaged to 
continue our lessons in writing and cyphering. I had a 
turn for drawing, too, as was found by the alterations I 
made one rainy day in my young uncle's designs. He 
had been studying fortifications ; his plans were said to 
be very neatly executed, but they were not finished to 
please me. I therefore extended the patches of colour 
laid on here and there, round the whole works, filled up 
vacant spaces, etc., and I wonder now when I know all 
the mischief I did how my good-natured uncle could 
ever have forgiven me, for he had been much flattered 
on his skill as a draughtsman. He blamed himself for 


having left his plans within my reach, and for having 
given me leave to amuse myself with his paint-box. 
He got into a great scrape himself this spring. He 
slept in my mother's dressing-room, I being removed to 
Miss Gardiner's room. The shower-bath stood there, 
although my mother had given up the use of it, and it 
was supposed to be empty. We were all in this room 
at play with our uncle, and I suppose teasing him, for 
he suddenly caught up Jane, the most riotous of the set, 
and popped her into the shower-bath, threatening a 
ducking, and touching, to prove his sincerity, the string ; 
down came the whole bucketful of water on the poor 
child's head! Both the man and the baby were 
frightened near to death. He actually waited till the 
deluge was over before his presence of mind returned, 
and then the piteous object he rescued, stunned almost 
and dripping ! At last she spoke. " Oh my soos, my 
red soos ! " it was a new pair put on that morning. I 
suppose no words ever gave more relief to an anxious 
listener. The hubbub brought my mother, who, in the 
impartial manner customary in nursery dealings at that 
time, scolded us all heartily. We three departed in 
tears to have "that naughty little girl" dried, leaving 
uncle Edward looking very sheepish. 

My three maiden aunts were with us at this time, 
and uncle Ralph came for a short visit, then Mr and 
Mrs Leitch, all to take leave of poor uncle Edward, 
whom we observed begin to look very grave. He went 
often out in the carriage with my father, sometimes they 
remained away a long time, once, all day ; and trunks 
came, and parcels to fill them, and Mr? Lynch was 
marking stockings, changing buttons, and sewing on 
strings for ever. She made also a long, large chintz 
housewife full of pockets, with a thread-case, and a 
curiously nicked leaf of scarlet flannel filled with needles ; 
it was her modest offering to Mr Edward, who truly 
promised to keep it for her sake, for he showed it to me 
more than twenty years afterwards at his house at 
Camballa in Bombay. 

At length came a sad day ; all the eyes in the house 


were red ; on meeting, every one talked with assumed 
cheerfulness on indifferent subjects, to which no one 
seemed really to attend. A sort of nervousness spread 
from old to young ; we children felt afraid of what was 
coming, and as the hours wore away the gloom spread. 
We were all in the dining-room when Mackenzie opened 
the door ; uncle Edward rose and kissed each child ; 
Mary was his darling, he doted on her with a love that 
never left him. " When shall I see you again, little 
woman ? " said he as he sat her down out of his arms ; 
little any one there thought then where the next 
meeting would be, and when his heart was too full for 
another word ; he folded my mother silently to his 
breast and followed my father out, while she fell back in 
a passicn of tears very rare in a woman of her calm, 
reserved nature. I watched through the blind and saw 
them turn the corner of Sir Griffin Wilson's garden wall 
next door to us, my father leaning on my uncle's arm, 
and my uncle with his hat slouched over his brows and 
his head held down. It was my first idea of grief; I 
had never lost anybody I had loved, and it was long ere 
even my gay spirits recovered from the first scene of 
distress I had noticed. 

One of my employments at this time was to hold the 
skeins of cotton thread which my mother wound off 
neatly on two square pieces of card placed one over the 
other, so as to form eight corners between which the 
thread was secured. This cotton thread was a great 
invention, a wonderful improvement on the flax thread 
in previous use, which it was difficult to get of sufficient 
fineness for some works, and hardly possible to find 
evenly spun. When one thinks of the machine-spinning 
of these days, the cotton and flax threads like the fibres 
of spider's webs which we produce in tons weight now, 
we may indeed wonder at the difficulties in needlework 
overcome by our mothers. 

Evenings at Home, Sandford and Merton, and a 
short Roman history in which very little mention was 
made of Tullia, were added to our library. In imitation 
of aunt Mary I began to take upon myself to tell fairy 


tales to " the little ones," sometimes relating, sometimes 
embellishing, sometimes inventing, choosing historical 
heroes to place in situations of my own imagining, 
turning all occurrences into romance. We acted too 
occasionally, or played at ladies and gentlemen, 
copying the style of my mother's various visitors, 
supporting these characters for days together at our 
play-hours. We began to feel great interest in 
Shakespeare's plays, several of which we were taken to 
see, my father talking them over with us afterwards. I 
remember thinking they were all extemporised by the 
players as they proceeded in their parts, as we did our- 
selves in our own dramas, and wondering whether we 
should ever, any of us, attain to the dignified declama- 
tion of John Kemble. 

This spring of 1804 aunt Mary had a long, serious 
illness ; she was so weakened by it that country air 
was recommended, so she and aunt Fanny took lodgings 
at Richmond, and I was sent with them. We lived in 
the house of a widow who had a parrot which talked to 
me just as much as I wished, and a maid who was 
pleased to have my company on all her errands. I re- 
collect perfectly, delighting in the view of the river with 
so many pretty boats on it and gardens down to its 

Mrs Bonner, our landlady, allowed me also to 
help her to make my aunts' puddings, the family 
preserves, pickles, etc., an honour I was extremely proud 
of. She lent me an old tea-caddy to put my work in ; 
the sugar-bowl and canister had been broken, so the 
empty compartments exactly suited the patches I was 
engaged on, and made me as perfectly happy as if it had 
been the handsomest in the land. I was so improved 
by this visit to Richmond, that as my aunts determined 
on remaining there during the summer, my father 
resolved to leave his two youngest children near them 
under the care of Nurse Millar, in whom they had full 
confidence. Lodgings were taken for them not far from 
Mrs Bonner, where they were to sleep and be sent 
whenever my aunts were tired of them in the day. 


William and I were to accompany our parents to the 

I can't remember where aunt Lissy was all this time. 
I often recollect her with us, and then I miss her for 
long whiles. Though my father's house was nominally her 
home she was perfectly independent, being now of age, 
and inheriting all that would have been her mother's 
property by the will of her grandfather Raper. She 
had Twyford House, near Thorley Hall, in Hertfordshire, 
and a considerable sum of money from the savings 
during her minority. I have always heard her income 
called about 800 a year. She was not pretty, short, 
thick-set, plain features, with an agreeable expression 
and clear skin, and quiet manners. She was possessed 
of a good understanding, her temper was charming, yet 
she and my mother never got on well together. She 
had odd, quaint old-maidish ways adopted from old 
Raper relations, with whom she lived very much. She 
had also continued an acquaintance with school friends, 
the results of which appeared again. She certainly did 
not go with us this year to the Highlands. 

We set off some time in July, my father and mother, 
William and I, Mrs Lynch and Mackenzie, in a new 
carriage a sociable with a cane body, a roof on four 
supports hung round with leather curtains, which we were 
continually letting down or tying up according to the 
weather, which we never managed to arrange in time 
for either wet or dry, and which, in spite of hooks 
and buttons let in the rain when the showers were 
heavy. A superior description of horses replaced the 
Smiler and Blackbird of former years, and the four 
bloods which formed the present team two bays and 
two greys, cross-cornered were driven by the smart 
coachman, William Millar, from the box. These horses 
for beauty were each a picture ; they had cost pro- 
portionate sums, and they did their work, as the coach- 
man said, "like jewels," never giving in nor shirking 
when once started but to make the start was the 
difficulty. Mr Coxe, named after his last master, and 
the most sedate of the set, merely indulged in a few 


plunges ; but Highflier, the other bay, regularly lay down, 
and it took all the hostlers and half the post-boys at 
every inn, with plentiful applications of William Millar's 
long whip, to bring him to his feet again. He was 
cured of this trick afterwards by having lighted straw 
put under him. The two greys were merely awkward. 
Such a crowd as used to gather round us ! To add to 
the tumult, my mother, the most nervous woman in the 
world, kept screaming at the top of her voice all the 
time, standing up in the carriage and entreating all the 
collected mob to have pity on her and open the door. 
This scene continued during the journey, till we got quite 
accustomed to what had at first frightened William and 
me. We were pleased with the queer new carriage, 
glad to see our landlady acquaintance, the boats at 
Boroughbridge, and other recollected objects; but we 
were not happy. We missed our little sisters, we 
talked over and over again when we were put to bed at 
night of all the tears shed on both sides at parting, 
particularly by poor Jane, who was a most affectionate 
little creature. William was long before he became 
reconciled to the want of his favourite companion, and 
I regretted equally dear Mary, my live doll. It was 
not till we reached the Doune that we at all got over 
this painful separation. We were a less time than 
usual upon the road, as we did not go to Houghton, and 
were but a short time in Edinburgh. 

On this journey I first remember old Neil Gow 
being sent for to play to us at the inn at Inver not 
Dunkeld that little village we passed through, and 
went on to the ferry at Inver, which we crossed the 
following morning in a large boat. It was a beautiful 
ferry, the stream full and deep and dark, the banks 
overhung by fine timber trees, a glimpse of a newly- 
planted conical hill up the stream, only thick wooding 
the other way. I don't know whether this did not 
make more impression upon me than Neil Gow's 
delightful violin, though it had so over-excited me 
the night before that my father had had to take me a 
little walk by the river-side in the moonlight before I 


was rational enough to be left to sleep. We were odd 
children, " full of nonsense," my mother said. Left to 
her, a good scold and a slap would have apparently 
quieted her little daughter, though a sleepless night 
would have left her but a poor object for the morrow. 
My father understood my temperament better. As for 
William, he took all in an easy Ironside way, remarking 
nothing but the peat reek, which neither he nor I had 
noticed before. 

We passed a very happy season at the Doune. We 
did no lessons ; we had a Jock Mackenzie to play with 
us in the stead of George Ross, who had been made a 
groom of. We rode on the old grey pony ; we paid 
quantities of visits to our friends all through Rothie- 
murchus, and we often had a brace of muir-fowl for our 
dinner, each carving our bird. A dancing-master 
taught us every variety of wonderful Highland step 
that is, he taught me, for William never could learn 
anything, though he liked hopping about to the fiddle 
and we did " Merrily dance the quaker's wife " together, 
quite to the satisfaction of the servants who all took 
lessons too, in common with the rest of the population, 
the Highlanders considering this art an essential in the 
education of all classes, and never losing an opportunity 
of acquiring a few more flings and shuffles. The 
dancing-master had, however, other most distinguished 
pupils, the present Duke of Manchester and his elder 
sister, Lady Jane Montague, who were then living in 
our close neighbourhood with their grandmother, the 
Duchess of Gordon. 

This beautiful and very cultivated woman had 
never, I fancy, lived happily with her duke. His 
habits and her temper not suiting, they had found 
it a wise plan to separate, and she had for the last few 
years spent her summers at a little farm on the 
Badenoch property, a couple of miles higher up the 
Spey than our Doune, and on the opposite side of the 
water. She inhabited the real old farmhouse of 
Kinrara, the same our good cousin Cameron had lived 
in, and where I have heard my mother say that the 


Duchess was happier and more agreeable, and the 
society she gathered round her far pleasanter, than it 
ever was afterwards in the new cottage villa she built 
about a mile nearer to us. It was a sort of backwoods 
life, charming to young people amid such scenery, a 
dramatic emancipation from the forms of society that 
for a little while every season was delightful, particularly 
as there was no real roughing in it. In the " but " and 
the " ben," constituting the small farm cabin it was, she 
and her daughter Lady Georgina dwelt. By the help 
of white calico, a little whitewash, a little paint, and 
plenty of flowers they made their apartment quite pretty. 
What had been kitchen at one end of the house was 
elevated by various contrivances into a sitting-room ; a 
barn was fitted up into a barrack for ladies, a stable ior 
gentlemen ; a kitchen was easily formed out of some of 
the out-offices, and in it, without his battery, without 
his stove, without his thousand-and-one assistants, and 
resources, her French cook sent up dinners still talked 
of by the few remaining partakers. The entries were all 
prepared in one black pot a large potato chaudron, 
which he had ingeniously divided within into four 
compartments by means of two pieces of tin-sheet 
crossed, the only inconvenience of this clever plan 
being that the company had to put up with all white 
sauces one day and all brown the next. Her favourite 
footman, Long James, a very handsome, impudent 
person, but an excellent servant for that sort of wild life, 
able to put his hand to any work, played the violin 
remarkably well, and as every tenth Highlander at least 
plays on the same instrument tolerably, there was no 
difficulty in getting up a highly satisfactory band on 
any evening that the guests were disposed for dancing. 
Half the London world of fashion, all the clever people 
that could be hunted out from all parts, all the north 
country, all the neighbourhood from far and near 
without regard to wealth or station, and all the kith 
and kin of both Gordons and Maxwells, flocked to 
this encampment in the wilderness during the fine 
autumns to enjoy the free life, the pure air, and the 


wit and fun the Duchess brought with her to the 

Lady Georgina Gordon, the youngest of the fair 
sisters of that, the last generation of the noble name, 
and the only one then unmarried, was much liked ; kind- 
hearted she has all through her life shown herself to be ; 
then, in her early youth, she was quiet and pleasing as 
well as lively. Unchangeable in amiability of manner, 
she was variable in her looks ; one day almost beautiful, 
the next, almost plain ; so my mother described her 
when she spoke of those merry doings in the old 
cottage at Kinrara in days quite beyond my memory. 
Lady Georgina had been some years married to the 
Duke of Bedford, and the Duchess of Gordon was 
living in her new house in this summer of 1804 when I 
first recollect them as neighbours. Our two dwellings 
were little more than a mile apart, but as I have said, 
the river was between us, a river not always in the 
mood for assisting intercourse. There were fords 
which allowed of carriage and pony communication at 
several points, but only when the water was low. At 
flood times passengers had to go down the stream to 
Inverdruie, or up the stream to near Loch Inch to the 
big boats, when they carried their vehicles with them ; 
those who walked could always find a little boat near 
every residence, and our ferries were in constant 
requisition, for no day passed without a meeting 
between the Doune and Kinrara. When the Duchess 
had miscalculated her supplies, or more guests arrived 
than she could possibly accommodate, the overplus as 
matter of course came over to us. Morning, noon, and 
night there was a coming and going. All our spare 
rooms were often filled even to the many beds in the 
barrack, and at Kinrara shakes-down in the dining-room 
and the sofas in the drawing-room were constantly 
resorted to for gentlemen who were too late for a 
corner in the " wooden room," a building erected a short 
way from the house in the midst of the birch thicket 
upon the banks. 

Many changes had happened in our house since my 


baby recollections. Old Donald was dead, old Christy 
was pensioned and settled with some relations in 
Duthil ; Miss Jenny was married, my uncle Sandy's 
five sons were all sent about the world, and my father's 
first cousins, Logie and Glenmoriston, who used to be a 
good deal with us as bachelors, were both married and 
fixed in their beautiful homes. There were still the 
Captain and Mrs Grant at Inverdruie, and the Colonel 
at the Croft, and Mr Cameron at Kinapol, and there 
were at a little distance, up in Badenoch, old Invereshie 
and his wife, and young Belleville and his bride. Cluny 
beyond in Laggan ; down the Spey, Castle Grant, 
Ballindalloch, Arndilly and Altyre; Moy, Burgie, 
etc., in Morayshire ; parties from which houses were 
frequently with us all except our Chief. I do not 
remember my father and mother going much from home 
this season, or indeed at all, except to Kinrara ; they 
had not time, for so many English travellers were in 
the habit of making hotels of the houses of the Highland 
proprietors, there was a sort of running stream of 
them during the latter part of summer. Mrs Thrale 
and her daughters, and Mr and Mrs Murray Aust, my 
mother afterwards continued an acquaintance with. In 
general, these chance guests were hardly agreeable 
enough to be remembered. 

William and I joined in all the fun of this gay 
summer. We were often over at Kinrara, the Duchess 
having perpetual dances, either in the drawing-room or 
the servants' hall, and my father returning these 
entertainments in the same style. A few candles 
lighted up bare walls at short warning, fiddles and 
whisky punch were always at hand, and the gentles and 
simples reeled away in company until the ladies thought 
the scene becoming more boisterous than they liked 
remaining in nothing more, however a Highlander 
never forgets his place, never loses his native inborn 
politeness, never presumes upon favour. We children 
sometimes displayed our accomplishments on these 
occasions in a prominent manner, to the delight, at any 
rate of our dancing-master. Lady Jane was really 


clever in the Gillie Callum and the Shean Trews, I 
little behind her in the single and double fling, the 
shuffle and heel-and-toe step. The boys were more 
blundering, and had to bear the good-natured laugh of 
many a hard-working lass and lad who, after the toil of 
the day, footed it neatly and lightly in the ball-room 
till near midnight. Lord Huntly was the life of all 
these meetings ; he was young, gay, handsome, fond of 
his mother, and often with her, and so general a 
favourite, that all the people seemed to wake up when 
he came amongst them. 

There had been some coolness between my father 
and Castle Grant about election matters ; the Chief and 
Chieftain differed in politics, and had in some way been 
opposed to each other, a difference that very foolishly 
had been allowed to influence their social relations. 
Many and many a family jar was caused in those times 
by the absurd violence of party feeling. 


WE were now to travel back to London in the sociable, 
rather cold work in cold autumn weather. We had to 
drive unicorn, for one of the grey horses was gone ; the 
other therefore had the honour of leading, a triangular 
style not then common, which ensured us an abundant 
amount of staring during our journey, a long one, for 
we made a round by the west country in order to pay 
two visits. My uncle Leitch had bought a pretty place 
near Glasgow, and made a handsome house out of the 
shabby one he found there by adding to the front a 
great building in very good taste. We two were quite 
astonished at the first aspect of Kilmerdinny. Large, 
wide steps led to a portico, a good hall, and then a 
circular saloon the height of the house, out of which all 
the rooms opened, those on the upper floor being 
reached by a gallery which ran round the saloon. 
Fine gardens, greenhouse, hothouses, hot walls, plenty 
of fruit, a lake with two swans on it and butter at our 
breakfast made us believe ourselves in Paradise! 
There was a beautiful drawing-room and a sunny little 
parlour, and a window somewhere above at which our 
handsome aunt appeared and threw out pears to us. 
We were sorry to go away, although there were no 
children to play with. The house was full of company, 
but they did not interfere with us, and when we did see 
any of these strangers they were very kind to us. But 
the day of departure came, the sociable was packed, 
and we set off for Tennochside in Lanarkshire, near 


1805-6] TENNOCHSIDE 47 

the Clyde, near Hamilton, and about eight miles from 

Uncle Ralph, my mother's second brother, had been 
bred to the law ; he had entered the office of a friend, 
Mr Kinderley, an attorney of repute in London, but he 
never liked the business, and on one of his visits to 
aunt Leitch, an acquaintance of old standing with the 
heiress of Tennochside suddenly blazed up into a love- 
fit on her side, which he, vain and idle, could not resist, 
and they were married. My poor aunt Judy, a good 
excellent woman, not the very least suited to him, plain 
in person, poor in intellect, without imagination or 
accomplishment, had not money enough to make up 
for the life of privation such a man had to lead with 
her. He was certainly punished for his mercenary 
marriage. Still, in an odd way of their own they got 
on, each valuing the other, though not exactly agreeing, 
save in two essential points love for Tennochside and 
for their two children. Eliza, the elder, was at this 
time exactly five years old, Edmund, still in arms, a 
mere baby. Here we had no fine house, but a very 
comfortable one, no finery, but every luxury, and the 
run through the woods or by the river-side was some- 
thing like our own home to us. We did not like our 
cousin Eliza, though she was a pretty child, and seem- 
ingly fond of us ; she was so petted, and spoiled and 
fretful, that she teased us. The night that I danced 
my Shean Trews in a new pair of yellow (!) slippers 
bought at Perth on our way she cried so much 
because she could not do the same, that she had to be 
sent to bed. Next day therefore I was sent for to help 
my aunt Judy in the storeroom, where she made the 
sweet things for the second course at dinner, and she 
had a great cry again ; a lesson that did neither of us 
any good, for I was conceited enough without any 
additional flatteries, and she only ran away to the old 
parlour where her great-aunt old Miss Jopplin always 
sat, who petted her up into a sort of sulky good humour 
again. We did not leave Tennochside with as much 
regret as we had quitted Kilmerdinny. 

48 RETURN TO LONDON [1805-6 

Aunt Mary and our two little sisters were in 
Lincoln's Inn Fields to receive us; how we flew to 
them ! Jane and William were in ecstasies ; they had 
always been inseparable play-fellows, and were over- 
joyed to be together again. Mary did not know us, at 
which I cried. She was amazingly grown, quite a large 
child, almost as tall as Jane and stouter, quiet, silent, 
and yet loved by all of us. Jane and William had a 
deal to say ; she really was a boy in all her tastes ; she 
played top, bat, leap-frog, fought, climbed trees, rode 
astride on the rocking-horse, and always put on her 
spencers and pinafores the wrong way to make believe 
they were jackets. I was forced to turn to Mary, who 
understood my quiet plays with my doll, her dress, and 
meals, and visitors. I daresay we were as happy as 
were our more boisterous companions, who, indeed, 
sometimes tamed down to associate with us. We were 
loving and happy children. 

For the next three years we lived entirely in 
England ; my father went north during this time once, 
if not twice, to look after various matters ; none of us 
went with him. Our winters were passed in Lincoln's 
Inn Fields, our summers at Twyford, which place my 
father rented of my aunt Lissy, having let his own, 
Thorley. We were also one spring at Tunbridge 
Wells for my mother, whom I never remember well for 
long together. It must have been often dull for her. 
When she was well enough she diversified her sober 
life by taking us to the play, and me to the Hanover 
Square and other concerts. She very rarely went out 
to private parties. Once I remember sitting up to help 
her toilette on a grand occasion a rout at the Duchess 
of Gordon's ; the hours were then more rational than 
they are now, she was dressed and off by nine o'clock, 
very little later than my bedtime. Her appearance has 
often recurred to me, for she was very lovely; her 
gown was white satin trimmed with white velvet, cut in 
a formal pattern, then quite the rage, a copy from some 
of the Grecian borders in Mr Hope's book; she had 
feathers in her hair and a row of pearls round her neck, 


[To face page 48. 


from which depended -a large diamond locket; the 
gown was short-waisted and narrow-skirted, but we 
thought it beautiful ; a touch of rouge finished matters ; 
and then Mrs Lynch, taking a candle, preceded her 
lady downstairs. My mother stooped to kiss me as 
she passed, and to thank me for holding the pins so 
nicely. The candle carried away, there remained 
another lit, which had been moved to a small table 
close to the wardrobe where Mrs Lynch had been 
searching for something wanted ; a book lay near it, I 
took it up. It was the first volume of the Letters of 
Lady Hertford and Lady Pomfret, the old edition, 
good-sized print and not over many lines on the 
octavo page. I read a line, some more lines, went on, 
sat down ; and there, Heaven knows how long after- 
wards, I was found tucked up in the arm-chair absorbed 
in my occupation, well scolded of course that followed 
as a matter of necessity for wasting the candle when 
every one supposed me to be in bed; why my nurse 
did not see that I was safe there she did not explain. 
I was half afraid to allude to my book in the morning, 
but finding no complaints had been made, took 
courage and asked permission to read it, which being 
readily granted, many a happy hour was spent over 
those delightful volumes. They were read and read 
again, and my father, finding I understood them, and 
could give a good reason for preferring Lady Hertford's 
charming way of telling her home news to the more 
exciting letters of her travelling correspondent, gave 
me Lady Mary Wortley Montague. We were also 
introduced this spring of 1805 or 6, I am not sure 
which, to Miss Edgeworth's Parent's Assistant, and 
the Arabian Tales. I somehow mix up the transactions 
of these three years, recollecting only the general 
progress we made and confusing the details ; the three 
winters in London are all jumbled up together, the 
summers stand out more prominently. 

Our principal London pleasure was the play, to 
which we went frequently, generally to Covent Garden, 
which we soon learned to consider as more decidedly 



our house. We had the Duke of Bedford's private 
box, sometimes meeting the Duchess of Gordon there, 
which we liked above all things, for then we had ices, 
fruits, and cakes in the little ante-room adjoining. In 
spite of all these amusements, the first note of prepara- 
tion for the country caused a sort of delirium in our 
nursery ; it was as if we had been prisoners expect- 
ing freedom, so much more natural to the young are 
green fields and shady lanes than the confinement of 
a city. 

In the spring of 1805 we went for a few weeks to 
Tunbridge Wells, while some of the servants were 
getting Twyford ready. We lodged in a gloomy 
house near the Pantiles, with no garden, only a court- 
yard before it, which got very slippery in showery 
weather ; but M. Beckvelt, our good old French master, 
was with us, and took us long wandering walks over 
the heath, and to the rocks, and up to Sion Hill, as 
happy as we were ourselves, as much a child too. He 
laughed and chattered French, and ran and climbed 
and gathered flowers as we did, always in the tight 
nankins, with the snuff-box and the powdered hair. 
I know not what he had been before the Revolution in 
his own country only a bourgeois he told us but he 
was a dear, kind old man, like the good fathers or 
tutors we read about in LArni des Enfants. He 
brought some Contes de FJes down with him to Tun- 
bridge, with which we got on very quickly ; we made, 
however, greater progress in Le Boulanger, which we 
danced on the heath like witches, screaming out the 
chorus like possessed things ; the people must have 
thought us crazy when any passed our magic circle. 

The remainder of this summer, and the two 
summers following, 1806 and 1807, we spent entirely 
at Twyford, the winters in London, as I said before, 
never all this time going near the Highlands. My 
father took a run to the north when he thought it 
necessary, but my mother was glad to remain quiet 
with her children in the south, which part of the world, 
I think, she had begun to prefer to her more romantic 

1806] TWYFORD 51 

home, now that the novelty of her Highland life had 
worn off a little. 

Twyford was one of the most comfortable, modern- 
ised old residences that any one need wish to live in. 
It was ugly enough on the outside, a heavy, square, red 
brick building with little windows and dumpy 
chimneys; a small, squat dome upon the top, within 
which was a great church clock, and an observatory 
stuck up at one end like an ear, or a tall factory 
chimney, ending in a glass lantern. In front was a 
small bit of shrubbery hardly hiding the road, and 
beyond a short double avenue of lime trees stretching 
across a green field ; behind was a more extensive 
shrubbery and flower-garden, divided by a light railing 
from pretty meadows dotted over with fruit trees. On 
one side was a walled garden and the farm offices, on 
the other the kitchen court, stables and stable-yard, and 
an Immense flour mill, all upon the river Stort, a 
sluggish stream moving along, canal fashion, close to 
the premises. Barges heavily laden plied all day long 
backwards and forwards on this dingy water, and as 
there was a lock just underneath the laundry windows, 
scenes as merry as those in the broom island took place 
on the flat banks of the lazy Stort among the barge-, 
men, the dusty millers, and the men and maids of the 
kitchen court. To the elder part of the family all this 
commotion must have been a nuisance, to us children 
such noisy doings were a delight. We had a post of 
observation contrived by ourselves in the middle of the 
wide yew hedge which bounded the back shrubbery on 
the river-side, and there, from what we called our 
summer parlour, we made many more observations 
than were always agreeable to the observed. There 
was a large establishment of servants, and no very 
steady head over them, for Lynch had married 
Mackenzie, and they had gone to keep the inn at 
Aviemore, a melancholy change for us little people ; 
but we had to bear a worse. 

In the summer of 1806 aunt Lissy married. Her 
particular friend was a Miss Susan Frere, who had 


been her favourite companion at the school in Queen's 
Square where she had been educated. Miss Frere's 
father, a gentleman of consideration in the county of 
Norfolk, had seven sons, and it was his fourth son, 
George, who was lucky enough to gain the heart of one 
of the best of women. The courtship had begun by 
means of letters through the sister ; it had been carried 
on at the Hanover Square concert rooms at rare 
intervals, for no one was aware of the progress of this 
seldom-noticed lover till the engagement was 
announced. My mother thought the pair had met in 
Wimpole Street, and Mrs Raper was sure he visited at 
Lincoln's Inn Fields, and both houses felt amazed at 
such an affair having been managed unknown to either. 
The first time that I became aware of what was going 
on was one day in the spring before our removal to 
Twyford in 1806. I was sitting near an open window 
in the front drawing-room beside my aunt Lissy, who 
had been ill, and was only sufficiently recovered to be 
nursed up carefully. Some humble friend had called to 
see her, and while they were conversing on their charity 
affairs, I was amusing myself watching the progress 
along the dead wall which supported the terrace walk 
of the Lincoln's Inn gardens, of the tall Mr Frere who 
had lately begun to come among us, and whose nankins 
always attracted me. As I expected, he was lost to 
sight for a moment only to emerge the brighter, for he 
soon appeared round the corner of the Griffin Wilsons' 
garden, and across our courtyard up to the door. His 
knock brought the colour into my aunt's pale face ; she 
also dismissed the humble friend, and then, forgetting 
me, she rose briskly to receive Mr Frere, and told 
him laughing how she had sent away an inconvenient 
third. Of course my turn soon came, but I was so 
busy arranging all my conjectures that they had to tell 
me twice to run away and play before I recollected to 
obey. When I reached the nursery I announced 
without more ado the impending marriage, which soon 
after was officially proclaimed. Both bride and bride- 
groom set about the preparations for their change of 


condition in a quiet, straightforward, business-like 
manner that much amused my mother and my aunt 
Mary. Mr Frere took a house in Brunswick Square, 
which aunt Lissy went with him to see. After due 
consideration they decided on buying all the furniture 
left in it by the late proprietor, to which my aunt added 
a great deal belonging to her from the stores at 
Twyford of beautiful Indian wares, and all that she had 
gathered together for her own comfort while her home 
was with us. Her bedroom looked very bare when all 
in it belonging to her had left it ; and the back drawing- 
room we always lived in, deprived of pictures, flower- 
stands, bookcases, china and other pretty things, with 
a really nice collection of books, was nearly empty, and 
it never quite recovered the loss, for my mother had no 
turn for adornments ; she kept a clean house, a good 
table, a tidy room, always putting in the stitch in time, 
but she did not care for knick-knacks, at least she did 
not care to buy them ; parting with them was a 
different affair ; she was angry at the loss of what she 
had been used to see around her, and while my 
imperturbable aunt Lissy day by day continued her 
dismantlings and her careful packings, my mother's 
surprise grew to indignation, as Jane and I were quick 
enough to find out by means of certain mysterious 
conversations between her and aunt Mary. They 
fancied that the low tone in which they spoke and the 
curious language they employed effectually veiled the 
meaning of their gossip ; instead, therefore, of sending 
us away when they had private communications to 
make, they merely bid us go to some other part of the 
room, while they tried to conceal the subject of their 
whisperings by the ingenious addition of " vus " to 
every word they spoke, as " Didvus youvus evervus 
hearvus ofous" etc. At first we supposed this was 
another continental language different from French, 
which we were ourselves learning, but the proper names 
sometimes used instead of hez^.y shevus gave us a clue 
to the cypher, which soon enabled us to translate it. 
Our first summer at Twyford had been very happy, 


both our aunts, Mary and Lissy, were with us, and 
cousin James Griffith, who was a great favourite. The 
queer old house particularly pleased us ; there was the 
long garret under the roof, a capital place for romping, 
and such hiding-places 1 the great clock chamber, 
turrets and turret stairs, observatory and crooked 
corners, and odd closets, all charming ! then such a yew 
hedge! a famous gravel-walk beside it, a garden so 
well stocked, such an orchard, fruits hardly known by 
more than sight showering down their treasures when 
we shook the trees. Another amusement of that first 
year was bat-hunting ; the house had been so long shut 
up, so little looked after, that the cellars and even the 
kitchen offices were actually swarming with bats ; they 
hung down from the rafters in hundreds, and were 
infinitely more hard to dislodge than the mice in the 
Highlands. We were so used to them flapping about 
our ears within and* without after dark, that even the 
servants gave up complaining of them, and only that 
they were unpleasant to the sense of smell, vigorous 
war would hardly have been waged against them. We 
had merry walks, too, through the fields, a firm path- 
way, and stile after stile all the way to Bishop's Stort- 
ford ; and in the autumn such nutting parties, the 
hedges full of blackberries, sloes, nuts, and bullaces; 
and then the walnuts ! we were stained to the colour of 
gipsies. The second summer was even happier, for 
good M. Beckvelt came for a month or more. He took 
us long walks all over the country, to Thorley Wood 
and Thorleyhurst, and among the pretty shady lanes 
abounding in every direction. We prefeired him to 
the nursery-maids, for he really had no pleasure but ours. 
The peasantry were uninteresting, so after a few 
cottage visits we gave up any attempt at acquaintance 
in that sphere, but the fields were charming. We went 
to church at Thorley always, sitting in the old Raper 
pew, and so pretty was that old church, so very pretty 
the old Raper Hall in which my father's tenant Mr 
Voules lived, that we used to wonder we did not live 
there ourselves. Mr Frere came frequently to see us, 

1806] HARDSHIPS 55 

and sometimes a tall brother with him. These were 
our gala days, for they played bat and ball, battledoor 
and shuttlecock, cricket, hunt the slipper, puss in the 
corner, and a hundred other games, which they had the 
knack of making every one, young and old, join in out 
on the lawn in the back shrubbery, under the shade of 
a fine chestnut tree. They seldom came either without 
a cargo of presents for the children ; the clan Frere 
therefore was so much in favour that we hardly 
regretted the parting from our kind aunt, little under- 
standing then how much our childish happiness had 
depended on the little quiet woman who seemed to be 
of no account. 

Our dear aunt Lissy had never interfered with the 
baby, little Mary. She was now at three years of age 
Mrs Millar's principal charge and my mother's pet. 
We three elder ones had been her care, and how she 
had managed us we only found out by comparing it 
with the mismanagement that followed. Having few 
lessons and no employment but such as we contrived 
for ourselves, our play-hours were so many as to tire us, 
our tempers suffered, and Mrs Millar, not possessing 
the best herself, sadly annoyed ours. I was active, pert, 
violent, Jane indolent and sulky, William impracticable, 
never out of humour, but quietly and thoroughly self- 
willed. One mode was applied to all ; perpetual fault- 
finding, screams, tears, sobs, thumps, formed the staple 
of the nursery history from this time forward. We 
were as little upstairs as we could help, though we were 
not always much better off below, for if my mother or 
aunt Mary were not in the vein for hearing our lessons, 
they had little patience with our mistakes or our 
questions; my mother would box our ears with her 
pretty white hand, and aunt Mary had a spiteful fillip 
with the thimble-finger which gave a painful sting ; 
bursts of crying, of course, followed, when the delin- 
quents were despatched to dark closets, where they 
were sometimes forgotten for hours. There was no 
kind Mrs Lynch to watch us, steal to our prison door 
and carry us off to her room to be employed and kept 

56 SEVERITIES [1806 

from mischief. She was as great a loss as aunt Lissy, 
in one particular a serious matter to me, my breakfast 
a greater. Our nursery breakfast was ordered, 
without reference to any but Houghton customs, to be 
dry bread and cold milk the year round, with the 
exception of three winter months, when in honour of 
our Scotch blood we were favoured with porridge ; the 
meal came from Scotland with the kegs of butter and 
barrels of eggs and bags of cheese, etc., but it was 
boiled by the English maids in any but north country 
fashion. Had we been strong children this style of 
food might have suited us, many large healthy families 
have thriven on the like ; but though seldom ailing, we 
inherited from my father a delicacy of constitution 
demanding great care during our infancy. In those 
days it was the fashion to take none ; all children alike 
were plunged into the coldest water, sent abroad in the 
worst weather, fed on the same food, clothed in the 
same light manner. From the wintry icy bath aunt 
Lissy had saved us ; our good nurse Herbert first, and 
then Mrs Lynch, had always made us independent of 
the hated milk breakfast ; but when they were gone and 
the conscientious Mrs Millar, my mother's "treasure," 
reigned alone, our life was one long misery, at least to 
William and me who were not favourites. In town, a 
large, long tub stood in the kitchen court, the ice on the 
top of which had often to be broken before our horrid 
plunge into it ; we were brought down from the very 
top of the house, four pair of stairs, with only a cotton 
cloak over our night-gowns, just to chill us completely 
before the dreadful shock. How I screamed, begged, 
prayed, entreated to be saved, half the tender-hearted 
maids in tears beside me ; all no use, Millar had her 
orders (so had our dear Betty, but did she always obey 
them?). Nearly senseless I have been taken to the 
housekeeper's room, which was always warm, to be 
dried ; there we dressed, without any flannel, and in 
cotton frocks with short sleeves and low necks. Revived 
by the fire, we were enabled to endure the next bit of 
martyrdom, an hour upon the low sofa, so many yards 


from the nursery hearth, our books in our hands, while 
our cold breakfast was preparing. My stomach entirely 
rejecting milk, bread and tears generally did for me, a 
diet the consequences of which soon manifested them- 
selves. From being a bright, merry, though slight, 
child, I became thin, pale and peaky, and woefully 
changed in disposition, slyness being added to my 
natural violence, as I can recollect now with shame. 
William told fibs by the dozen, because he used to be 
asked whether he had done, or not done, so and so, and 
did not dare answer truthfully on account of the severity 
of the punishments to which he was subjected. We 
began all our ill -behaviour soon after aunt Lissy's 
marriage. On my father's return from his canvass in 
Morayshire he received bad accounts of our misconduct. 
The recapitulation of all our offences to my father drove 
us to despair, for we loved him with an intensity of 
affection that made his good opinion essential to our 
happiness ; we also dreaded his sternness, all his 
judgments being la Brutus, nor did he ever remit a 
sentence once pronounced. The milk rebellion was 
crushed immediately; in his dressing-gown, with his 
whip in his hand, he attended our breakfast the tub at 
this season we liked, so he had no occasion to super- 
intend the bathing but that disgusting milk! He 
began with me ; my beseeching look was answered by a 
sharp cut, followed by as many more as were necessary 
to empty the basin ; Jane obeyed at once, and William 
after one good hint. They suffered less than I did ; 
William cared less, he did not enjoy this breakfast, but 
he could take it; Jane always got rid of it, she had 
therefore only hunger to endure ; I, whose stomach was 
either weaker or stronger, had to bear an aching head, 
a heavy, sick painful feeling which spoilt my whole 
morning, and prevented any appetite for dinner, where 
again we constantly met with sorrow. Whatever was 
on the table we were each to eat, no choice was allowed 
us. The dinners were very good, one dish of meat with 
vegetables, one tart or pudding. On broth or fish days 
no pudding, these days were therefore not in favour ; 


but our maigre days, two in the week during summer, 
we delighted in, fruit and eggs being our favourite 
dishes. How happy our dinner hour was when aunt 
Lissy was with us ! a scene of distress often afterwards. 
My mother never had such an idea as that of entering 
her nursery, when she wanted her children or her maids 
she rang for them ; aunt Mary, of course, had no busi- 
ness there ; the cook was pretty sure of this, the broth 
got greasy, the vegetables heavy with water, the 
puddings were seldom brown. Mrs Millar allowed no 
orts, our shoulders of mutton we ate all the shoulders 
were to be cut fair, fat and lean, and to be eaten fair, 
a hard task for Jane and me. The stomachs which 
rejected milk could not easily manage fat except when 
we were under the lash, then indeed the fat and the 
tears were swallowed together ; but my father could not 
always be found to act overseer, and we had sometimes 
a good fight for it with our upright nurse, a fight ending 
in victory as regarded the fat, though we suffered in 
another way the pains of defeat, as on these occasions 
we were deprived of pudding ; then, if I were saucy, or 
Jane in a sulky fit, the scene often ended in the dark 
closet, where we cried for an hour or more, while 
William and little Mary finished the pudding. 

This barbarity lasted only a short time, owing to 
my ingenious manufacture of small paper bags which 
we concealed in our laps under the table, and took 
opportunities of filling with our bits of fat ; these we 
afterwards warily disposed of, at Twyford through the 
yew hedge into the river, in town elsewhere. 

Another serious grief we had connected with our 
food. We could refuse nothing that was prepared for 
us ; if we did we not only got nothing else, but the dish 
declined was put by to appear again at the next meal, 
and be disposed of before we were permitted to have 
what else there was. Jane greatly disliked green 
vegetables, spinach or cabbage in particular ; it was 
nature speaking (poor nature ! so unheeded in those 
times), for these plants disagreed with her, yet she must 
eat them. I have known a plate of spinach kept for her 


from dinner one day to supper the next, offered at each 
meal and refused, and not even a bit of bread substituted 
all those long hours, till sheer hunger got the better of 
her dislike, and she gave herself a night of sickness by 
swallowing the mess. Fancy a young child kept thirty 
hours without food and then given poison 1 the 
dungeons of feudal times were in their degree not more 
iniquitous than these proceedings. 

Of course under this regime the rhubarb bottle 
became a necessity in the nursery. I had my French 
beans antipathy, and it was to be overcome in the same 
way, followed by the same cure for its effects. In 
addition to the dose of rhubarb, nauseous enough in 
itself, our breakfast on medicine mornings was water 
gruel I can see it now, unstrained, thick, black, and 
seasoned with salt ; this frightful bowl gave me an 
obstinate fit in Jane's style, from which I suffered in the 
same way ; breakfast, dinner, and supper passed, and 
the cold gruel remained untouched ; faint from hunger 
I lay down in the evening on the floor of the closet 
where I had passed the summer's day, and sobbed out 
that I wished to die I One of the housemaids on her 
tour of window-shutting, a Hertfordshire girl named 
Sally Withan, whom I remember with gratitude to this 
hour, unturned the key which kept me prisoner, and 
threw beside me some red-streaked apples. I have 
loved apples ever since. Good-humoured, rosy-cheeked 
Sally Withan I She said if she could find that nasty 
gruel, it should not plague her sweet young lady no more, 
she'd answer for it ! I was not slow to give the hint, 
and certainly on being called to bed, whither I went 
without a kiss or a good-night or even appearing down- 
stairs, fresh gruel, better it seemed to me, warm at any 
rate, and a slice of bread, were thankfully received after 
the miserable day of fasting. 

Even poor little Mary did not escape the Spartan 
rules of my father's discipline ; for her baby errors she 
had to bear her punishment. She used to be set on the 
lowest step of the stair at " naughty times," and not be 
allowed to move from there till permission was given. 

60 HAPPY HOURS [1806 

One night my father forgot her, so, I suppose, had every 
one else, for on ringing for wine and water at midnight, 
the footman who brought it up found the poor little 
thing lying there asleep. She had sat there since 
dinner. We used to comfort one another in our 
troubles when we could manage it, and many a 
" goody " the good children secreted and carried to be 
given with kisses and hugs to the poor desolate culprit, 
who all the time believed him or herself to be disgrace- 
fully guilty. 

This is the dark side of the picture ; we had very 
happy hours as well ; despotically as we were ruled in 
some respects, we were left in other ways to our own 
devices. We disposed of our time very much according 
to our own fancies, subject to certain rules. We were 
always to appear at the breakfast-table of our father and 
mother some time between ten and eleven o'clock ; the 
last of the three regular ringings of my father's 
dressing-room bell was our signal for leaving our plays ; 
we ran off to brush our hair, wash our hands, and seize 
our books, with which provided we repaired to the 
breakfast-room, where our duties were to run messages ; 
in summer to amuse ourselves quietly till called upon to 
stir ; in winter to make the toast. Breakfast over, we 
said our few lessons to my mother, and read in turns. 
I was supposed to have practised the pianoforte early. 
If we were wanted again during the day we were sent 
for, though frequently we spent the whole morning in 
the drawing-room, where we employed ourselves as we 
liked, provided we made no noise. The prettily-wound 
cotton balls had already superseded the skeins, so that 
we were saved that piece of business. In the hot 
summer days aunt Mary often read to us fairy tales, or 
bits from the Elegant Extracts, latterly Pope's Homer, 
which with her explanations we enjoyed extremely, all 
but the Shield of Achilles, the long description of which 
I feared was never to end. When my father was away 
my mother dined with us early, and in the evenings we 
took long drives in the open landau and four. When he 
was at home, and the late dinner proceeded in full form 

1806-7] FUN WITH FATHER 61 

and what a tedious'ceremony it was ! we all appeared 
at the dessert, or rather at the second course, in full 
dress like the footmen. We sat in a row we four, 
little Mary and all, on four chairs placed against the 
wall trained to perfect quiet ; we were to see and to 
smell, but to taste nothing, to hear and not to speak ; 
but on the dessert appearing we were released, called 
forward to receive a little wine, a little fruit, and a 
biscuit, and then to have our game at romps ; the riot 
generally forced our nervous mother to retire, and then 
quite at ease, in good earnest began the fun. 

Sometimes my father was an ogre groping about for 
little children, whom he caught and tickled nearly into 
fits; sometimes he was a sleeping giant whom we 
besieged in his castle of chairs, could hardly waken, and 
yet dreaded to hear snore. Whatever the play was it 
was always charming, and redeemed all troubles. We 
looked forward to this happy hour as to a glimpse of 
heaven ; milk, cabbage, fat, rhubarb, and gruel were all 
forgotten, and the whippings too ; he was no longer the 
severe master, he was the best of play-fellows. We 
dreaded hearing of his absence, as all our joy went with 
him ; we hailed his return as our chief blessing. He 
soon found out that no punishment had such effect 
upon any of us as exclusion from the romping hour. 
Once or twice it was my fate to remain upon my chair 
in that row against the wall, while the romp went on 
around me ; to be told to remain there as unworthy of 
my share in the fun. I don't think I ever needed a 
third lesson, although the faults had not been very 
heinous ; the most flagrant was my having provided 
myself with a private store of apples, gathered only 
from underneath the trees, but concealed in one of the 
queer little triangular cupboards scattered up and down 
the turret stairs, and intended to furnish out our play 
banquets up in the haunted attic. The summer of 1807 
was the last we spent at Twyford. 

Just before leaving town we had seen our dear aunt 
Lissy's little boy, poor John Frere, a fine plain, healthy 
baby, when as a secret I was told to expect a little 


brother or sister shortly at home, for whose arrival 
many preparations were making. Jane hemmed some 
new soft towels for it very badly and I made all the 
little cambric shirts so neatly, that I was allowed to 
begin a sampler as a reward, and to go to Bishop's- 
Stortford to buy the canvas and the coloured worsteds 

My father had been in the north. Parliament had 
been dissolved, and he had set up for Morayshire ; his 
opponent was Colonel Francis Grant, the second son of 
his Chief, who had all the Tory interest and a deal of 
clannish help besides ; feudal feeling being still strong 
in the Highlands, although personally there was no 
doubt as to the popularity of the two candidates. My 
father ran up to within two votes of his cousin ; all the 
consolation he had for setting the county in a flame, 
losing his time, wasting his money, and dividing 
irremediably the House of Grant against itself. Years 
before he had canvassed Inverness, Sir James giving all 
his interest to the East India Director, Charles Grant, 
who ito secure his seat promised my father unlimited 
Indian appointments if he would give in. This was the 
secret of my father's Indian patronage, through which he 
provided ultimately for so many poor cadets. How 
much each of such appointments cost him unluckily he 
never calculated. He was very little cast down by his 
ill success. 

My father turned the remainder of his time in the 
Highlands to farming account, for he was exceedingly 
interested in agriculture, particularly anxious to open 
the eyes of the Hertfordshire people, who at that time 
pursued the most miserable of the old-fashioned English 
systems. The first year we went to Twyford he had 
established a Scotch grieve there ; he built a proper set 
of offices, introduced rotation crops, deep ploughing, 
weeding, hay made in three days, corn cut with a 
scythe, and housed as cut, cattle stall-fed; and I 
remember above all a field of turnips that all, far and 
near, came to look and wonder at turnips in drills, and 
two feet apart in the rows, each turnip the size of a 


man's head. It was the first such field ever seen in 
those parts, and so much admired by two-footed 
animals that little was left for the four-footed. All the 
lanes in the neighbourhood were strewn with the green 
tops cut off by the depredators. The Scotch farming 
made the Hertfordshire bumpkins stare, but it produced 
no imitators during the short period it was tried by us. 
The speculation did not enrich the speculator. We ate 
our own mutton, poultry, and vegetables in town, as well 
as in the country, the market-cart coming to Lincoln's 
Inn Fields weekly with all supplies ; we had a cow, too, 
in the London stables, changed as required. But Mr 
Reid got to drink too much gin, Mrs Reid lay in bed in 
the mornings and saw company in the evenings. The 
laundry-maids also entertained a large acquaintance 
with the dairy produce, for they united the two condi- 
tions ; so that though we lived in luxury we paid well for 
it, made no friends, and were cheated by our servants, 
for besides the liberal way in which they helped 
themselves they neglected their master's business. 

My father had gone to the Trysts after losing Moray, 
and bought a large drove of fine young black cattle, for 
no small penny. These were sent south under the care 
of two Highland drovers. The fine field of turnips 
during the winter and the rich grass of the Hertford- 
shire meadows being expected to feed such beef for the 
London market as, to say the truth, the English 
people of that day had little notion of. There were 
above a hundred head ; they were put to rest in the 
small paddock between the orchard and the river 
bordered on the shrubbery side by the yew hedge. 
Poor beasts ! I forget how many survived ; it was 
heart-breaking to see them next day lying about the 
field dying from the effects of the poison. 

This unfortunate business disgusted my father with 
his English improvements ; at least after this summer 
we never saw Twyford again. He sold Thorley Hall to 
Lord Ellenborough for 20,000, I have heard, ; 10,000 
of which bought Kinloss near Forres, the remainder 
helping off the accounts of the Morayshire canvass. 



THE Rapers are an old Buckinghamshire family of 
Norman descent, as their name anciently spelt Rapier 
attests. Where they came from, or when they came, or 
what they were, I really do not know, but so strong a 
leaven of Puritanism pervaded the Christian names of 
the family, that I cannot but think they were known in 
the days of the Commonwealth for more stirring deeds 
than suited them in after-times ; they descended to us 
as scientific men, calm, quiet, retired, accomplished 
oddities. How any of them came to settle in Hertford- 
shire was not explained, but it so happened that two 
brothers established themselves in that county within 
a mile of one another ; Matthew at Thorley Hall, John at 
Twyford. Matthew never married, John took to wife 
Elizabeth [Hale, daughter of Elizabeth] Beaumont, 
descended in the direct line from Sir John Beaumont, 
the author of Bosworth Field and the elder brother of 
the dramatist. I remember mentioning this with no 
little pride to Lord Jeffrey, when he answered quietly 
he would rather himself be able to claim kindred with 
Fletcher ; and soon after he announced in one of his 
reviews that Beaumont was but the French polish upon 
the fine sound material of Fletcher or something to 
that effect ; which may be true, though at this distance 
of time, I dont see how such accurate division of labour 
could be tested ; and what would the rough material 
have been unpolished ? I myself believe that Beaumont 
was more than the varnish, he was the edge-tool too, 


and I am proud of such parentage, and value the red 
bound copy of Bosworth Field with my great [great] 
grandmother's name in it, and the little silver sugar- 
basket with the Lion of England in the centre of it, 
which she brought with her into the Raper family. 

She must have been a person of acquirements too, 
for her death so affected her husband that he was 
never seen out of his own house afterwards. I do not 
know how he managed the education of his only child, 
my grandmother ; for she was well educated in a higher 
style than was common then, and yet he lived on at 
Twyford alone almost, except for visits from a few 

His horses died in their stables, his carriages 
decayed in their coach-houses, his servants continued 
with him till their marriage or death, when the super- 
numeraries were not replaced, and he lived on year after 
year in one uniform round of dulness till roused by the 
arrival of his grandchildren. 

Aunt Lissy did not remain long with him, but my 
father was his charge till his death. He did not appear 
to have devoted himself to him, and yet the boy was 
very constantly his companion within doors, for all the 
old man's queer methodical ways had impressed them- 
selves vividly on his grandson's mind. When altering 
the house my father would permit no change to be made 
in the small room on the ground-floor of the hall, which 
had been his grandfather's dressing-room, and which 
was now his own. 

We often attended on my father towards the end of 
his toilet, on the third ringing of that bell a sound that 
acted through our house like the " sharp " in the royal 
palaces, sending every one to his duty in all haste and 
there we found the same oddly contrived wardrobe 
which had been made so many years ago. Two or three 
broad shelves were below, and underneath the lowest 
one a row of small pegs for hanging boots and shoes on ; 
at the top were a number of pigeon-holes, employed by 
my father for holding papers, but which in Raper days 
had held each the proper supply of linen for one day ; 


66 A USEFUL LESSON [1778-84 

shirt, stock, stockings, handkerchief, all along in a row, 
tier after tier. My great-grandfather began at No. I and 
went regularly through the pigeon-holes, the washer- 
woman refilling those he had emptied. This methodical 
habit pervaded all his actions ; he walked by rule at stated 
times, and only in his garden, and for a definite period ; 
so many times round the formal parterre, bounded by 
the yew-tree hedge. He did not, however, interrupt his 
thoughts to count his paces, he filled a pocket of his 
flapped waistcoat with so many beans, and each time 
that he passed the door he dropped a bean into a box 
placed upon the sill of the window for the purpose of 
receiving them ; when the beans had all been dropped 
the walk was done. 

He was a calm and placid man, and acted like oil on 
waves to the impatient spirit he had to deal with. 
Some baby fury had excited my father once to that 
degree, he took a fine handkerchief that had been given 
to him and threw it angrily upon the fire, then seeing 
the flames rise over it, he started forward as suddenly to 
rescue it. " No, Jack," said his grandfather, " let it burn, 
the loss of a handkerchief is little, the loss of temper is 
much ; watch it burning and try to remember what 
irremediable mischief an uncontrolled temper works." 
My father said this scene often recurred to him and 
checked many a fit of passion, fortunately, as his High- 
land maid Christy and others did their best to spoil 

The Thorley brother, Matthew, was quite as eccentric 
as my great-grandfather ; they were much together, and 
he it was who built the observatory at Twyford, that 
when he dined there and took a fancy to consult the 
stars, he need not have to return home to spend an hour 
with them. He was a true lover of learning ; he had 
built a large room to hold his books at Thorley. The 
best of those we loved so much at the Doune came from 
thence, and the maps and prints and volumes of rare 
engravings, coins, mathematical instruments, and 

He played on both violin and violoncello. Our poor 

1748-79] MATTHEW RAPER 67 

cousin George Grant took possession of the violoncello, 
on which he was a proficient. The violin was lent to 
Duncan Macintosh, who enlarged the sound-holes, as 
he thought the tone of this Cremona too low for the 
proper expression of Highland music ! 

There was an observatory at Thorley too, from 
whence my great-uncle surveyed the earth as well as 
the heavens; a favourite occupation of his being the 
care of some grass walks he was very particular in 
defending from the feet of passengers. 

He had planted a wood at a short distance from his 
house, laid out a kind of problem in action ; an oval 
pond full of fish for centre, and gravel walks diverging 
from it at regular intervals towards an exterior square ; 
the walks were bordered by very wide turf edging, and 
thick plantations of young trees were made between. 
It was a short cut through this mathematical plantation 
from one farmhouse to another, and in rainy weather 
the women in their pattens destroyed the grass borders 
when they disobeyed the order to keep to the gravel 

From his tower of observation Matthew Raper 
detected every delinquent, and being provided with a 
speaking-trumpet, no sooner did a black gipsy bonnet 
and red cloak beneath it appear on the forbidden 
edge, than " Of with your pattens " echoed in rough 
seaman's voice to the terror of the sinners. 

These two old brothers, the one a bachelor, the 
other a widower, had their hearts set upon the same 
earthly object, the only child of the one, my grand- 
mother. To judge of her from the fragments of her 
journals, her scraps of poetry, some copied, some 
original, her pocket-books full of witty memoranda, 
her receipt-books, songs, and the small library, in each 
volume of which her name was beautifully written, she 
must have been an accomplished woman and passing 
clever, with rather more than a touch of the coarseness 
of her times. 

She had a temper ! for dear, good Mrs Sophy used 
to tell us, as a warning to me, how every one in her 


household used to fly from her presence when it was up, 
hiding till the brief storm was over. She was not hand- 
some, short in figure, with the Raper face, and undecided 
complexion ; but she had lovers. In early youth a 
cousin Harry figured in her private MS., he must have 
been the Admiral's father ; and after came a more 
serious business, an engagement to Bishop Horsley; 
there was an illness, and when the heiress recovered she 
married her Doctor ! my grandfather whether with 
or without the consent of her family I do not know ; it 
certainly was not with their approbation, for they looked 
on my grandfather as a mere adventurer, and did not 
thoroughly forgive my grandmother for years ; not till 
my great-uncle Rothie, with his graceful wife, came to 
London to visit their brother the Doctor, when the 
Raper connection was relieved to see that the honour 
of the alliance was at least mutual. 

Although my grandfather lived to get into great 
practice as a physician, his income at the time of his 
marriage was not considerable ; the Raper addition to 
it was extremely welcome. Her father allowed Mrs 
Grant a guinea a day, paid punctually to herself in 
advance on the first of the month in a little rouleau of 
gold pieces ; as I understood, this was never promised, 
but never failed The uncle at Thorley, too, kindly 
assisted the housekeeping. On New Year's Day he 
regularly gave or sent his niece a piece of plate and a 
hundred pounds, so regularly that she quite reckoned 
on it, unwisely ; for one day the uncle, talking with her 
confidentially upon the Doctor's improved ways and 
means, trusting matters were really comfortable ; " Oh 
dear, yes," replied she ; " fees are becoming plenty, and 
the lectures bring so much, and my father gives so much, 
and then, uncle, there is your hundred pounds." " True, 
niece," answered the odd uncle, and to the day of his 
death he never gave her another guinea ! He saved all 
the more for my father, little thinking all his hoards were 

destined for that odious S G and the electors 

of Great Grimsby. 

My grandfather and grandmother were married 


[To face page 68. 


twelve years before they had a child, then came my father, 
and four years after, in giving birth to my aunt Lissy, 
her mother died. The Highlanders saw the hand of a 
rewarding providence in the arrival of these children to 
a lonely home, my grandmother having signally 
approved herself in their eyes by her behaviour on a 
memorable occasion ; I don't know how they accounted, 
on the same principles, for her early death in the midst 
of these blessings. 

The visit that the Laird and the Lady of Rothie- 
murchus had paid to Doctor and Mrs Grant at their 
large house in Lime Street was to be returned, but, 
after repeated delays, his professional business prevent- 
ing the Doctor from taking such a holiday, his wife was 
to go north without him, but with his younger brother, 
Alexander the clergyman, who was then curate at 
Henley, where he had been for some time with his 
wife and her sister Miss Neale. Besides his clerical 
duties, he at this time took pupils, who must have 
been at home for the holidays, when he could pro- 
pose to take his wife and his sister-in-law to the 

My great-uncle Rothie was unluckily living at 
Elgin, his delicate wife having found the mountain air 
too keen for her, but the object of the journey being 
principally to see Rothiemurchus, the English party 
proceeded there under the charge of their cousin, Mr 
James Cameron, of Kinrara, Kinapol, and latterly, in 
my remembrance, of the Croft. 

My grandmother rode up from Elgin on a pillion 
behind Mr Cameron. She wore high-heeled, pointed- 
toed shoes, with large rosettes, a yellow silk quilted 
petticoat, a chintz sacque or fardingale bundled up 
behind, and a little black hat and feather stuck on one 
side of her powdered head. She sang the Beggar's 
Opera through during the journey with a voice of such 
power that Mr Cameron never lost the recollection of 
it. One of the scenes they went to view was that from 
the churchyard ; the old church is beautifully situated 
on a rising ground in a field not far from the house of 


the Doune, well backed by a bank of birch wooding, 
and commanding a fine prospect both up and down the 
valley of the Spey. My grandmother looked round in 
admiration, and then, turning to Mr Cameron, she 
lamented in simple good faith that the Laird had no 
son to inherit such a property. " Both a loss and a 
gain," said Mrs Alexander in a blithe voice, "the 
parson and I have five fine sons to heir it for him." 
Poor woman ! she outlived them all, and the following 
year my grandmother produced the delicate boy, whose 
birth ended their expectations. 

The Doctor and his rather eccentric true Raper 
wife lived happily together, save for a slight occasional 
coolness on his part, and some extra warmth now and 
then on hers. From the time of her death, Mrs Sophy 
told us, he never entered her drawing-room, where all 
remained precisely as she had left it ; her harpsichord 
on one side of the fireplace, and her Japan cabinet on 
the other, both remained locked : her bookcases were 
undisturbed; a small round table that held a set of 
egg-shell china out of which her favoured guests had 
received their tea, had been covered with a cambric 
handkerchief by his own hand, and no one ventured to 
remove the veil. All her wardrobe, which was rich, 
and her trinkets, were left as she had left them, never 
touched till they were packed in chests when he left 
London, which chests were not opened till aunt Lissy 
came of age, and then the contents were divided 
between her and my father. 

More than all, he laid aside his violin: they had 
been long married before she knew he played. She 
had seen the violin in its case, and wondered what it 
did there. At last she asked, and was surprised and 
pleased to find him no mean performer. How very 
odd, how individualised were the people of those old 
days ! On the death of her whom he had never 
seemed to care to please, he laid aside the instrument 
he had really loved, nor ever resumed it till he retired 
to the Doune, when my father remembered his often 
bringing sweet music from it in an evening. I can't 

1807] BIRTH OF JOHN 71 

tell why, but I was always much interested in those 
old-world days. 

My father never liked speaking of his childhood, it 
had probably not been happy ; he was reserved, too, 
on matters of personal feeling. Not till I had nearly 
grown up did I hear much from him of his boyhood, 
and even then it was drawn from him by my evident 
pleasure in the answers this cross-questioning elicited. 
He had only one recollection of his mother, seeing her 
in long diamond earrings on some company occasion, 
and sleeping with her by an accident when, tired out 
with his chattering (my silent father !), she invented a 
new play a trial of who should go to sleep first. Her 
voice, he said, was like aunt Lissy's, low and sweet. 
Aunt Lissy was a Raper, and she loved Twyford, and 
after her marriage tried to live there, but before the 
railway crossed the orchard, the distance was great 
from chambers for so complete a man of business as 
uncle Frere. 

Early in November 1807 we removed to town, and 
before the end of the month my brother John was born, 
the youngest, and most talented of us all. He was a 
small, thin, ugly baby, and he remained a plain child, 
little of his age for many years, no way remarkable. 
In the spring of 1808 William was sent to Eton, not 
ten, poor child ! very unfit for the bufferings of that 
large public school, where the little boys were utterly 
neglected by the masters, and made mere slaves and 
drudges by the elder boys, many of whom used their 
fags unmercifully. William was fortunate in this 
respect, his first master was the present Duke of 
Leinster, a very good-natured lad ; his dame, too, Mrs 
Denton, was kind to all her boys in a sort of way ; but 
poor William was far from happy, he told us in confi- 
dence at midsummer, though it would have been 
incorrect to allow this publicly. We were proud of 
having a brother at Eton then, now I look back with 
horror on that school of corruption, where weak 
characters made shipwreck of all worth. 

We passed a very happy winter. My mother was 

72 PLAYFELLOWS [1807-8 

more out in society than usual, having Harriet to 
introduce. We had hardly any lessons except such as 
we chose to do for our masters, M. Beckvelt, Mr 
Thompson, and Mr Jones, which very often was little 
enough; we were a great deal in Brunswick Square 
with uncle and aunt Frere, we had the two babies to 
play with, John Frere and our own Johnnie, and we 
had now a large acquaintance in the Square. We had 
great games of " Tom Tiddler," " Thread the Needle," 
" Follow the Leader," " Hen and Chickens," and many 
more, our merry laughter ringing round the gardens, 
where we were so safe, so uncontrolled, and so happy, 
though we were not among the tlite of our little world. 
An elder set kept itself quite distinct from the younger 
ones, and a grander set walked in stately pride apart 
from either. Sir John Nicholls' daughters and Mr 
Spencer Perceval's never turned their exclusive looks 
upon meaner neighbours, while Justice Park's, with 
Daniels, Scarletts, Bennets, and others growing up, 
would only smile upon the children they passed 
occasionally. We, all unknowing and equally uncar- 
ing, romped merrily on in our gleesome play-hours, 
Tyndales, Huttons, Grants, Williams, Vivians. Besides, 
we had a grade or two below ourselves with which on 
no account were we to commingle ; some coarse-shoed, 
cotton-gloved children, and a set who entered with 
borrowed keys, and certainly appeared out of their 
proper place. Home was quite as pleasant as the 
Square, the baby made us so merry. I worked for him 
too ; this employment was quite a passion with me ; 
from very early days down to this very hour genera- 
tions of little people might have thanked my busy 
fingers for their outfit. My box of baby clothing has 
never been empty since I first began to dress my doll. 
Many a weary hour has been beguiled by this useful 
plain work, for there are times when reading, writing, 
or more active employments only irritate, and when 
needlework is really soothing, particularly when there 
is an object in the labour. It used as a child to give 
me a glow of delight to see the work of my fingers on 

1807-8] A MASQUERADE 73 

my sisters and brothers, and on the Rothiemurchus 
babies ; for it was only for our own poor that I busied 
myself, everybody giving me scraps for this purpose, 
and sometimes help and patterns. My sisters never 
worked from choice ; they much preferred to the quiet 
occupations, the famous romps in Brunswick Square, 
where, aunt Lissy having no nerves, her tall brothers-in- 
law, who were all uncles Frere to us, made perfect 
bedlam in her drawing-room, and after dinner made for 
us rabbits of the doyleys, cut apples into swans and 
wells, and their pips into mice. 

Uncle John, the ambassador, was rather stately ; 
but uncle Bartle, his secretary, was our grand ally ; 
William, the sergeant, came next in our esteem ; 
Edward was quieter; the two younger, Hatley and 
Temple, were all we could wish. The two sisters we 
hardly knew, Lady Orde was in the country, and Miss 
Frere, my aunt's friend Susan, was generally ill. There 
was a friend, however, Sir Robert Ainslie, whom we 
thought charming, and a Lady Laurie and her brother, 
Captain Hatley, who were very likeable. We were 
pretty well off for friends at home ; Captain Stevenson 
and his brother Colonel Barnes were famous play- 
fellows, and our cousin Harry Raper, and the old set 
besides. Also we helped to dress my mother and 
Harriet Grant of Glenmoriston, my father's ward, for 
their parties, and had once great fun preparing them 
for a masquerade, when, with the assistance of some 
friends, they all went as the country party in the 
Journey to London, my mother being such a pretty 
Miss Jenny. Another time Harriet went as a Highland 
girl, in some fantastic guise of Miss Stewart's invention, 
and meeting with a kilted, belted, well-plumed High- 
lander, had fun enough to address him in Gaelic, and 
he, not understanding one word of what should have 
been his native tongue, retreated confounded, she 
following, till he turned and fled, to the delight of the 
lookers-on who somehow always seem to enjoy the 
discomfiture of a fellow-creature. It was Harriet's last 
exploit in London. She went north to some of her 


Highland aunts, in company with her brother Patrick 
the laird this spring. 

Early in the summer of 1808, we all started together 
for the Highlands. The greater part of the furniture 
had been sent from Twyford to the Doune, where, truth 
to say, it was very much wanted. The servants all 
went north with it by sea, excepting those in immediate 
attendance on ourselves. A new barouche landau was 
started this season, which served for many a year, and 
was a great improvement upon either the old heavy 
close coach or the leather-curtained sociable. Four 
bays in hand conducted us to Houghton, where after a 
visit of a few days my father proceeded on his circuit, 
and my mother removed with the children to Seaham, 
a little bathing hamlet on the coast of Durham, hardly 
six miles from Houghton. She had often passed an 
autumn there when a child, with some of her numerous 
brothers and sisters, and she said it made her feel young 
again to find herself there once more, wandering over 
all the ground she knew so well. She was indeed in 
charming spirits during the whole of our sojourn at this 
pretty place. We lived entirely with her, she bathed 
with us, walked with us, we gladly drove in turn with 
her. We took our meals with her, and she taught us 
how to make necklaces of the seaweed and the small 
shells we found, and how to clean and polish the large 
shells for fancy works she had done in her own child- 
hood, when she, our grave, distant mother, had run 
about and laughed like us. How very happy parents 
have it in their power to make their children ! We 
grew fat and rosy, required no punishments, hardly 
indeed a reprimand ; but then Mrs Millar had left us, 
she had gone on a visit to her friends at Stockton, 
taking the baby with her, for as far as care of him was 
concerned she was quite to be trusted. 

We lived in a little public-house, the only inn in 
the place. We entered at once into the kitchen, bright 
and clean, and full of cottage valuables ; a bright " sea- 
coal " fire burned always cheerily in the grate, and on the 
settle at one side generally sat the old grandfather of 


the family, with his pipe, or an old worn newspaper, or 
a friend. The daughter, who was mistress of the 
house, kept bustling about in the back kitchen where 
all the business went on, which was quite as clean, 
though not so handsomely furnished, as the one where 
the old man sat. There was a scullery besides for dirty 
work, such as baking, brewing, washing, and preparing 
the cookery. A yard behind held a large water-butt 
and several outhouses; a neatly-kept flower-garden, a 
mere strip, lay beneath the windows in the front, open- 
ing into a large kitchen garden on one side. The sea, 
though not distant, could only be seen from the upper 
windows ; for this and other reasons we generally sat 
upstairs. Roses and woodbine clustered round the 
lattices, the sun shone in, the scent of the flowers, and 
the hum of the bees and the chirp of the birds, all 
entered the open casements freely; and the polished 
floors and furniture, and the clean white dimity hang- 
ings, added to the cheerfulness of our suite of small 
attics. The parlour below was dull by comparison. It 
could only be reached through the front kitchen; tall 
shrubs overshaded the window, it had green walls, hair- 
bottomed chairs set all round by them ; one round table 
in the middle of the room oiled till it was nearly black, 
and rubbed till it shone like a mirror ; a patch of 
carpet was spread beneath this table, and a paper net 
for catching flies hung from the ceiling over it; a 
corner cupboard full of tall glasses and real old china 
tea-cups, and a large china punch-bowl on the top, and 
a corner-set arm-chair with a patch-work cover on the 
cushion, are all the extras I remember. We were very 
little in this " guest-chamber," only at our meals or on 
rainy days. We were for ever on the beach, strolling 
along the sands, which were beautiful ; sitting on the 
rocks or in the caves, penetrating as far into them as 
we dared. When we bathed we undressed in a cave 
and then walked into the sea, generally hand in hand, 
my mother heading us. How we used to laugh and 
dance, and splash, and push, anything but dip, we 
avoided that as much as possible ; then in consideration 


of our cold bath we had a warm tea breakfast and felt 
so light. It was a very happy time at Seaham. Some 
of the Houghton cousins were often with us, Kate and 
Eliza constantly. We had all straw bonnets alike, 
coarse dunstables lined and trimmed with green, with 
deep curtains on the neck, pink gingham frocks and 
holland pinafores, baskets in our hands, and gloves in 
our pockets. We did enjoy the seashore scrambles. 
On Sundays we were what we thought very fine, white 
frocks all of us ; the cousins had white cambric bonnets 
and tippets, and long kid gloves to meet the short 
sleeves. We had fine straw bonnets trimmed with 
white, and black silk spencers. My mother wore gipsy 
hats, in which she looked beautiful ; they were tied on 
with half-handkerchiefs of various colours, and had a 
single sprig of artificial flowers inside over one eye. 
We went to church either at Seaham or Houghton, the 
four bays carrying us quickly to my uncle Ironside's, 
when we spent the remainder of the day there always, 
our own feet bearing us to the little church on the 
cliffs when it suited my mother to stay at home. 

The name of the old Rector of Seaham I cannot 
recollect ; he was a nice kind old man, who most good- 
naturedly, when we drank tea at the parsonage, played 
chess with me, and once or twice let me beat him. He 
had a kind homely wife too, our great ally. She had 
many housekeeping ways of pleasing children. The 
family, a son and two or three daughters, were more 
aspiring ; they had annual opportunities of seeing the 
ways of more fashionable people, and so tried a little 
finery at home, in particular drilling an awkward lout of 
a servant boy into a caricature of a lady's page. One 
evening, in the drawing-room, the old quiet mamma 
observing that she had left her knitting in the parlour, 
the sprucest of the daughters immediately rose and 
rang the bell and desired this attendant to fetch it, 
which he did upon a silver salver ; the thick grey woollen 
stocking for the parson's winter wear, presented with a 
bow such a bow ! to his mistress. No comments that 
I heard were made upon this scene, but it haunted me 


as in some way incongruous. Next day, when we were 
at our work in the parlour, I came out with, " Mamma, 
wouldn't you rather have run down yourself and brought 
up that knitting?" " You would, I hope, my dear," 
answered she with her smile she had such a sweet 
smile when she was pleased "you would any of you." 

Except the clergyman's family there was none of 
gentle degree in the village, it was the most primitive 
hamlet ever met with, a dozen or so of cottages, no 
trade, no manufacture, no business doing that we could 
see : the owners were mostly servants of Sir Ralph 
Milbanke's. He had a pretty villa on the cliff surrounded 
by well-kept grounds, where Lady Milbanke liked 
very much to retire in the autumn with her little 
daughter, the unfortunate child granted to her after 
eighteen years of childless married life. She generally 
lived quite privately here, seeing only the Rector's 
family, when his daughters took their lessons in high 
breeding ; and for a companion for the future Lady 
Byron at these times she selected the daughter of our 
landlady, a pretty, quiet, elegant-looking girl, who bore 
very ill with the public-house ways after living for 
weeks in Miss Milbanke's apartments. I have often 
wondered since what became of little Bessy. She 
liked being with us. She was in her element only with 
refined people, and unless Lady Milbanke took her 
entirely and provided for her, she had done her 
irremediable injury by raising her ideas beyond her 
home. Her mother seemed to feel this, but they were 
dependants, and did not like to refuse "my lady." 
Surely it could not have been that modest graceful 
girl, who was " born in the garret, in the kitchen bred " ? 
I remember her mother and herself washing their 
hands in a tub in the back-yard after some work they 
had been engaged in, and noticing sadly, I know not 
why, the bustling hurry with which one pair of red, 
rough hands was yellow-soaped, well plunged, and then 
dried off on a dish-cloth; and the other pale, thin 
delicate pair was gently soaped and slowly rinsed, 
and softly wiped on a towel brought down for the 


purpose. What strangely curious incidents make an 
impression upon some minds! Bessy could make 
seaweed necklaces and shell bags and work very 
neatly. She could understand our books too, and was 
very grateful for having them lent to her. My mother 
never objected to her being with us, but our Houghton 
cousins did not like playing with her, their father and 
mother, they thought, would not approve of it ; so when 
they were with us our more humble companion retired 
out of sight, giving us a melancholy smile if we chanced 
to meet her. My mother had no finery. She often let us, 
when at Houghton, drink tea with an old Nanny 
Appleby, who had been their nursery-maid. She lived 
in a very clean house with a niece, an eight-day clock, 
a chest of drawers, a corner-set chair, and a quantity of 
bright pewter. The niece had twelve caps, all beautifully 
done up, though of various degrees of rank ; one was on 
her head, the other eleven in one of the drawers of this 
chest, as we counted, for we were taken to inspect them. 
The aunt gave us girdle cakes, some plain, some spiced, 
and plenty of tea, Jane getting hers in a real china cup, 
which was afterwards given to her on account of her 
possessing the virtue of being named after my mother. 
There were grander parties, too, at Houghton, among 
the aunts and the uncles and the cousins. At these 
gayer meetings my great-aunts Peggy and Elsie 
appeared in !the very handsome headgear my mother 
had brought them from London, which particularly 
impressed me as I watched the old ladies bowing and 
jingling at the tea-table night after night. They were 
called dress turbans, and were made alike of rolls of 
muslin folded round a catgut headpiece and festooned 
with large loops of large beads ending in bead tassels, 
after the most approved prints of Tippoo Sahib. They 
were considered extremely beautiful as well as fashion- 
able, and were much admired. We also drove in the 
mornings to visit different connections, on one occasion 
going as far as Sunderland, where the iron bridges so 
delighted Jane and me, and the shipping and the busy 
quays, that we were reproved afterwards for a state of 


over-excitement that prevented our responding properly 
to the attentions of our great-aunt Blackburn, a remark- 
ably handsome woman, though then upwards of eighty. 

It was almost with sorrow that we heard circuit was 
over ; whether sufficient business had been done on it to 
pay the travelling expenses, no one ever heard, or I 
believe inquired, for my father was not communicative 
upon his business matters; he returned in his usual 
good (Spirits. Mrs Millar and Johnnie also reappeared ; 
aunt Mary packed up ; she took rather a doleful leave 
of all and started. 

At Edinburgh, of course, my father's affairs detained 
him as usual ; this time my mother had something to 
do there. Aunt Mary had been so long rusticating at 
Houghton four months, I think that her wardrobe 
had become very old-fashioned, and as there was always 
a great deal of company in the Highlands during the 
shooting season, it was necessary for her to add 
considerably to it Dressmakers consequently came to 
fit on dresses, and we went to silk mercers, linen-drapers, 
haberdashers, etc. Very amusing indeed, and no way 
extraordinary ; and so we proceeded to Perth, where, 
for the last time, we met our great-uncle Sandy. This 
meeting made the more impression on me, not because 
of his death soon after, for we did not much care for 
him, but for his openly expressed disappointment at my 
changed looks. I had given promise of resembling his 
handsome mother, the Lady Jean Gordon, with her fair 
oval face, her golden hair, and brilliant skin ; I had 
grown into a Raper, to his dismay, and he was so 
ungallant as to enter into particulars yellow, peaky, 
skinny, drawn up, lengthened out, everything disparag- 
ing ; true enough, I believe, for I was not strong, and 
many a long year had to pass before a gleam of 
the Gordon beauty settled on me again. It passed 
whole and entire to Mary, who grew up an embodiment 
of all the perfection of the old family portraits. Jane 
was a true Ironside then and ever, William ditto, John 
like me, a cross between Grant and Raper. 

They did not understand me, and they did not use 


me well. The physical constitution of children nobody 
thought it necessary to attend to then, the disposition 
was equally neglected, no peculiarities were ever studied ; 
how many early graves were the consequence ! I know 
now that my constitution was eminently nervous ; this 
extreme susceptibility went by many names in my 
childhood, and all were linked with evil. I was affected, 
sly, sullen, insolent, everything but what I really was, 
nervously shy when noticed. Jealous too, they called 
me, jealous of dear good Jane, because her fearless 
nature, fine healthy temperament, as shown in her 
general activity, her bright eyes and rosy cheeks, made 
her a much more satisfactory plaything than her timid 
sister. Her mind, too, was precocious; she loved 
poetry, understood it, learned it by heart, and expressed 
it with the feeling of a much older mind, acting bits 
from her favourite Shakespeare like another Roscius. 
These exhibitions and her dancing made her quite a 
little show, while I, called up on second thoughts to 
avoid distinctions, cut but a sorry figure beside her; 
this inferiority I felt, and felt it still further paralyse me. 
Then came the unkind, cutting rebuke, which my loving 
heart could ill bear with. I have been taunted with 
affectation when my fault was ignorance, called sulky 
when I have been spirit-crushed. I have been sent 
supperless to bed for not, as Cassius, giving the cue 
to Brutus, whipped by my father at my mother's 
representation of the insolence of my silence, or the 
impudence of the pert reply I was goaded on to make; 
jeered at as the would-be modest, flouted as envious. 
How little they guessed the depth of the affection thus 
tortured. They did it ignorantly, but how much after- 
grief this want of wisdom caused ; a very unfavourable 
effect on my temper was the immediate result, and 
health and temper go together. 



ON reaching the Doune a great many changes at first 
perplexed us. The stables in front of the house were 
gone, also the old barn, the poultry-house, the duck- 
pond ; every appurtenance of the old farmyard was 
removed to the new offices at the back of the hill ; a 
pretty lawn extended round two sides of the house, and 
the backwater was gone, the broom island existed no 
longer, no thickets of beech and alder intercepted the 
view of the Spey. A green field dotted over with trees 
stretched from the broad terrace on which the house 
now stood to the river, and the washing-shed was gone. 
All that scene of fun was over, pots, tubs, baskets, and 
kettles were removed with the maids and their 
attendants to a new building, always at the back of 
the hill, better adapted, I daresay, to the purposes of 
a regular laundry, but not near so picturesque, although 
quite as merry, as our beloved broom island. I am 
sure I have backwoods tastes, like my aunt Frere, whom 
I never could, by letter or in conversation, interest in 
the Rothiemurchus improvements. She said the whole 
romance of the place was gone. She prophesied, 
and truly, that with the progress of knowledge all the 
old feudal affections would be overwhelmed, individu- 
ality of character would cease, manners would change, 
the Highlands would become like the rest of the world, 
all that made life most charming there would fade 
away, little would be left of the olden time, and life 
there would become as uninteresting as in other little- 
si F 


remarkable places. The change had not begun yet, 
however. There was plenty of all in the rough as 
yet in and about the Doune, where we passed a very 
happy summer, for though just round the house were 
alterations, all else was the same. The old servants 
were there, and the old relations were there, and the 
lakes and the burnies, and the paths through the forest, 
and we enjoyed our out-of-door life more this season 
than usual, for cousin James Griffith arrived shortly 
after ourselves with his sketch-book and paint-boxes, 
and he passed the greater part of the day wandering 
through all that beautiful scenery, Jane and I his 
constant companions. Mary was a mere baby, but 
William, Jane, and I, who rode in turns on the grey 
pony, thought ourselves very big little people, and 
expected quite as matter of right to belong to all the 
excursion trains, were they large or small. Cousin 
James was fond of the Lochans with their pretty fringe 
of birchwood, and the peeps through it of the Croft, 
Tullochgrue, and the mountains. A sheep path 
running along by the side of the burn which fed these 
picturesque small lochs was a favourite walk of aunt 
Mary's, and my father had christened it by her name. 
It started from the Polchar, and followed the water to 
the entrance of the forest, where, above all, we loved to 
lose ourselves, wandering on among the immense roots 
of the fir trees, and then scattering to gather cran- 
berries, while our artist companion made his sketches. 
He liked best to draw the scenery round Loch-an- 
Eilan ; he also talked to us if we were near him, 
explaining the perspective and the colouring and the 
lights and shadows, in a way we never forgot, and 
which made these same scenes very dear to us after- 
wards. It was, indeed, hardly possible to choose amiss ; 
at every step there lay a picture. All through the 
forest, which then measured in extent nearly twenty 
square miles, small rivers ran with sometimes narrow 
strips of meadowland beside them ; many lochs of 
various sizes spread their tranquil waters here and 
there in lonely beauty. In one of them, as its name 


implied, was a small island quite covered by the ruins 
of a stronghold, a momento of the days of the Bruce, 
for it was built by the Red Comyns, who then owned 
all Strathspey and Badenoch. A low square tower 
at the end of the ruin supported an eagle's nest. 
Often ! the birds rose as we were watching their eyrie, 
and wheeled skimming over the loch in search of the 
food required by the young eaglets, who could be 
seen peeping over the pile of sticks that formed their 
home. Up towards the mountains the mass of fir 
broke into straggling groups of trees at the entrance of 
the glens which ran far up among the bare rocky crags 
of the Grampians. Here and there upon the forest 
streams rude sawmills were constructed, where one or 
at most two trees were cut up into planks at one time. 
The sawmiller's hut close beside, a cleared field at hand 
with a slender crop of oats growing on it, the peat- 
stack near the door, the cow, and of course a pony, 
grazing at will among the wooding. Nearer to the 
Spey the fir wood yielded to banks of lovely birch, the 
one small field expanded into a farm ; yet over all hung 
the wild charm of Nature, mountain scenery in 
mountain solitude beautiful under any aspect of the 

Our summer was less crowded with company than 
usual, very few except connections or a passing stranger 
coming to mar the sociability of the family party. 
Some of the Gumming Gordons were with us, the 
Lady Logic, and Mrs Cooper, with whom my mother 
held secret mysterious conferences. There were 
Kinrara gaieties too, but we did not so frequently 
share in them, some very coarse speeches of the 
Duchess of Manchester having too much disgusted 
cousin James to make him care for such company too 
often repeated. He had a very short time before been 
elected Head of his college in Oxford. As Master of 
University with a certain position, a good income, a 
fine house, and still better expectations through his 
particular friends Lord Eldon the Chancellor, and his 
brother Sir William Scott, he was now able to realise a 


long-cherished hope of securing his cousin Mary to 
share his prosperous fortunes. They were going 
together in middle age, very sensibly on both parts, 
first loves on either side, fervent as they were, having 
been long forgotten, and they were to be married and 
to be at home in Oxford by the gaudy day in October. 
The marriage was to take place in the Episcopal chapel 
at Inverness, and the whisperings with Mrs Cooper had 
reference to the necessary arrangements. It was on the 
i pth of September, my brother William's birthday, that 
the bridal party set out; a bleak day it was for 
encountering Slochd Mor ; that wild, lonely road 
could have hardly looked more dreary. I accompanied 
the aunt I was so very much attached to, in low enough 
spirits, having the thought of losing her for ever, 
dreading many a trial she had saved me from, and 
Mrs Millar, who feared her searching eye. My 
prospects individually were not brightened by the 
happy event every one congratulated the family on. 
Cousin James was to take his wife by the coast road to 
Edinburgh, and then to Tennochside. Some other 
visits were to be paid by the way, so my aunt had 
packed the newest portion of her wardrobe, much that 
she had been busied upon with her own neat fingers all 
those summer days, and all her trinkets, in a small 
trunk to take with her on the road ; while her heavy 
boxes had preceded us by Thomas Mathieson, the 
carrier, to Inverness, and were to be sent on from 
thence by sea to London. We arrived at Grant's 
Hotel, the carriage was unpacked, and no little trunk 
was forthcoming ! It had been very unwisely tied on 
behind, and had been cut off from under the rumble by 
some exemplary Highlander in the dreary waste named 
from the wild boors. My poor aunt's little treasures ! 
for she was far from rich, and had strained her scanty 
purse for her outfit. Time was short, too, but my 
mother prevailed on a dressmaker a Grant to work. 
She contributed of her own stores. The heavy trunks 
had luckily not sailed ; they were ransacked for linen, 
and on the 2Oth of September good Bishop Macfarlane 


united as rationally happy a pair as ever undertook the 
chances of matrimony together. 

We all loved aunt Mary, and soon had reason to 
regret her. Mrs Millar, with no eye over her, ruled 
again, and as winter approached and we were more in 
the house, nursery troubles were renewed. My father 
had to be frequently appealed to, severities were 
resumed. One day William was locked up in a small 
room reserved for this pleasant purpose, the next day 
it was I, bread and water the fare of both. A review 
of the volunteers seldom saw us all collected on the 
ground, there was sure to be one naughty child in prison 
and at home. We were flogged too for every error, boys 
and girls alike, but my father permitted no one to strike us 
but himself. My mother's occasional slaps and boxes 
on the ear were mere interjections taken no notice of. 
It was upon this broken rule that I prepared a scene to 
rid us of the horrid termagant, whom my mother with 
a gentle, self-satisfied sigh announced to all her friends 
as such a treasure. William was my accomplice, and 
this was our plan. My father's dressing-closet was 
next to our sitting nursery, and he, with Raper 
regularity, made use of it most methodically, dressing 
at certain stated hours, continuing a certain almost 
fixed time at his toilet, very seldom indeed deviating 
from this routine, which all in the same house were as 
well aware of as we were, Mrs Millar among the rest. 
The nursery was very quiet while he was our neighbour. 
It did sometimes happen, however, that he ran up from 
his study to the dressing-room at unwonted hours, and 
upon this chance our scheme was founded. William 
was to watch for this opportunity ; as soon as it 
occurred he secretly warned me, and I immediately 
became naughty, did something that I knew would be 
particularly disagreeable to Mrs Millar. She found 
fault pretty sharply, I replied very pertly, in fact as 
saucily as I could, and no one could do it better ; this 
was followed as I expected by two or three hard slaps 
on the back of my neck, upon which I set up a scream 
worthy of the rest of the scene, so loud, so piercing, 


that in came my father to find me crouching beneath 
the claws of a fury. " I have long suspected this, 
Millar," said he, in the cold voice that sunk the heart 
of every culprit, for the first tone uttered told them that 
their doom was sealed. " Six weeks ago I warned you 
of what would be the consequences; you can go and 
pack up your clothes without delay, in an hour you 
leave this for Aviemore," and she did. No entreaties 
from my mother, no tears from the three petted 
younger children, no excuses of any sort availed. In 
an hour this odious woman had left us for ever, I can't 
remember her wicked temper now without shuddering 
at all I went through under her charge. In her 
character, though my father insisted on mentioning 
the cause for which she was dismissed, my mother had 
gifted her with such a catalogue of excellences, that 
the next time we heard of her she was nurse to the 
young Duke of Roxburghe that wonder long looked 
for, come at last and nearly murdered him one day, 
keeping him under water for some childish fault till he 
was nearly drowned, quite insensible when taken out by 
the footman who attended him. After this she was 
sent to a lunatic asylum, where the poor creature ended 
her stormy days ; her mind had probably always been 
too unsettled to bear opposition, and we were too old 
as well as too spirited to have been left so long at the 
mercy of an ignorant woman, who was really a tender 
nurse to an infant then. In some respects we were 
hardly as comfortable without her, the good-natured 
Highland girl who replaced her not understanding the 
neatnesses we had been accustomed to; and then I, 
like other patriots, had to bear the blame of all these 
inconveniences ; I, who for all our sakes had borne 
these sharp slaps in order to secure our freedom, was 
now complained of as the cause of very minor evils ; 
my little brothers and sisters, even William my 
associate, agreeing that my passionate temper had 
aggravated " poor Millar," who had always been " very 
kind" to them. Such ingratitude! "Kill the next 
tiger yourselves," said I, and withdrew from their 


questionable society for half a day, by which time Jane 
having referred to the story of the soldier and the 
Brahmin in our Evenings at Home, and thought the 
matter over, made an oration which restored outward 
harmony ; inwardly, I remained a little longer angry 
another half-day a long period in our estimate of time. 
My mother, however, discovered that the gardener's 
young daughter would not do for us undirected, so the 
coachman's wife, an English Anne, a very nice person 
who had been nurse before she married, was raised 
from the housemaid's place to be in Millar's, and it 
being determined we were all to stay over the winter 
in the Highlands, a very good plan was suggested for 
our profitable management. We were certainly 
becoming not a little wild as it was. It was arranged 
that a Miss Ramsay, an English girl from Newcastle, 
who had been employed as a school teacher at Duthil, 
should remove to the Doune, a happy change for her 
and a very fortunate hit for us. She was a kind, cheerful 
creature, not capable of giving us much accomplishment, 
but she gave us what we wanted more, habits of order. 

The autumn and winter passed very happily away, 
under these improved arrangements. The following 
summer of 1809 was quite a gay one, a great deal of 
company flocking both to the Doune and Kinrara, and 
at midsummer arrived William ; the little fellow, not 
quite eleven years old then, had travelled all the way 
south after the summer holidays from Rothiemurchus 
to Eton, by himself, paying his way like a man ; but 
they did not put his courage to such a proof during the 
winter. He spent both his Christmas and his Easter with 
the Freres, and so was doubly welcome to us in July. 
He took care of himself as before on this long journey, 
starting with many companions in a post-chaise, 
dropping his friends here and there as they travelled, 
till it became more economical to coach it. At Perth 
all coaching ended, and I don't remember how he could 
have got on from thence to Dalwhinnie, where a 
carriage from the Doune was sent to meet him. 

During the winter my father had been very much 


occupied with what we considered mere toys, a little 
box full of soldiers, painted wooden figures, and tin 
flags belonging to them, all which he twisted about over 
the table to certain words of command, which he took 
the same opportunity of practising. These represented 
our volunteers, about which, ever since I could 
remember, my father, whilst in the Highlands, had been 
extremely occupied. There was a Rothiemurchus 
company, his hobby, and an Invereshie company, and I 
think a Strathspey company, but really I don't know 
enough of warlike matters though a Colonel's leddy 
to say whether there could be as many as three. There 
were officers from all districts certainly. My father 
was the Lieutenant-Colonel ; Ballindalloch the major ; 
the captains, lieutenants, and ensigns were all Grants 
and Macphersons, with the exception of our cousin 
Captain Cameron. Most of the elders had served in the 
regular army, and had retired in middle life upon their 
half-pay to little Highland farms in Strathspey and 
Badenoch, by the names of which they were familiarly 
known as Sluggan, Tullochgorm, Ballintomb, Kinchurdy, 
Bhealiott. Very soldierly they looked in the drawing- 
room in their uniforms, and very well the regiment 
looked on the ground, the little active Highlander 
taking naturally to the profession. There were fugle- 
men in those days, and I remember hearing the 
inspecting general say that tall Murdoch Cameron the 
miller was a superb model of a fugleman. I can see 
him now in his picturesque dress, standing out in front 
of the lines, a head above the tallest, directing the 
movements so accurately followed. My father on field 
days rode a beautiful bay charger named Favourite, 
covered with goat-skins and other finery, and seemingly 
quite proud of his housings. It was a kilted regiment, 
and a fine set of smart well-set-up men they were, with 
their plumed bonnets, dirks, and purses, and their low- 
heeled buckled shoes. My father became his trappings 
well, and when, in early times, my mother rode to the 
ground with him, dressed in a tartan petticoat, red 
jacket gaudily laced, and just such a bonnet and 


feathers as he wore himself, with the addition of a huge 
cairngorm on the side of it, the old grey pony might 
have been proud in turn. These displays had, however, 
long been given up. I recollect her always quietly in 
the carriage with us bowing on all sides. 

To prepare himself for command, my father, as I 
have said, spent many a long evening manoeuvring all 
his little figures ; to some purpose, for his Rothiemurchus 
men beat both Strathspey and Badenoch. I have 
heard my uncle Lewis and Mr Cameron say there was 
little trouble in drilling the men, they had their hearts 
in the work ; and I have heard my father say that the 
habits of cleanliness, and habits of order, and the sort of 
waking up that accompanied it, had done more real 
good to the people than could have been achieved by 
many years of less exciting progress. So we owe 
Napoleon thanks. It was the terror of his expected 
invasion that roused this patriotic fever amongst our 
mountains, where, in spite of their distance from the 
coast, inaccessibility, and other advantages of a hilly 
position, the alarm was so great that every preparation 
was now in train for repelling the enemy. The men 
were to face the foe, the women to fly for refuge to 
Castle Grant. My mother was all ready to remove 
there, when the danger passed ; but it was thought 
better to keep up the volunteers. Accordingly 
they were periodically drilled, exercised, and inspected 
till the year '13, if I remember rightly. It was a very 
pretty sight, either on the moor of Tullochgorm or the 
beautiful meadows of Dalnavert, to come suddenly on 
this fine body of men and the gay crowd collected to 
look at them. Then their manoeuvres with such 
exquisite scenery around them, and the hearty spirit of 
their cheer whenever "the Leddy" appeared upon 
the ground ; the bright sun seldom shone upon a more 
exhilarating spectacle. The Laird, their Colonel, 
reigned in all hearts. After the " Dismiss," bread and 
cheese and whisky, sent forward in a cart for the 
purpose, were profusely administered to the men, all of 
whom from Rothiemurchus formed a running escort 


round our carriage, keeping up perfectly with the four 
horses in hand, which were necessary to draw the heavy 
landau up and down the many steeps of our hilly roads. 
The officers rode in a group round my father to the 
Doune to dinner, and I recollect that it was in this year 
1809 that my mother remarked that she saw some of 
them for the first time in the drawing-room to tea and 

Miss Ramsay occupied us so completely this summer, 
we were much less with the autumn influx of company 
than had been usual with us. Happy in the schoolroom, 
still happier out in the forest, with a pony among us to 
ride and tie, and our luncheon in a basket, we were 
indifferent to the more dignified parties whom we some- 
times crossed in our wanderings. To say the truth, my 
father and mother did not understand the backwoods, 
they liked a very well cooked dinner, with all suitable 
appurtenances in their own comfortable house ; neither of 
them could walk, she could not ride, there were no 
roads for carriages, a cart was out of the question, such 
a vehicle as would have answered the sort of expeditions 
they thus seldom went on was never thought of, so with 
them it was a very melancholy attempt at the elephant's 
dancing. Very different from the ways of Kinrara. 
There was a boat on Loch-an-Eilan, which was regularly 
rowed over to the old ruined castle, then to the pike 
bay to take up the floats that had fish to them, and 
then back to the echo and into the carriage again ; but 
there was no basket with luncheon, no ponies to ride 
and tie, no dreaming upon the heather in pinafores all 
stained with blaeberries ! The little people were a 
great deal merrier than their elders, and so some of 
these, elders thought, for we were often joined by the 
" lags of the drove," who perhaps purposely avoided the 
grander procession. Kinrara was full as usual. The 
Duke of Manchester was there with some of his children, 
the most beautiful statue-like, person that ever was seen 
in flesh and blood. Poor Colonel Cadogan, afterwards 
killed in Spain, who taught us to play the devil, which I 
wonder did not kill us ; certainly throwing that heavily- 


leaded bit of wood from one string to the opposite, it 
might have fallen upon a head by the way, but it never 
did. The Cummings of Altyre were always up in our 
country, some of them in one house or the other, and 
a Mr Henville, an Oxford clergyman, Sir William's 
tutor, who was in love with the beautiful Emilia, as was 
young Charles Grant, now first seen among us, shy and 
plain and yet preferred ; and an Irish Mr Macklin, a 
clever little, flighty, ugly man, who played the flute 
divinely, and wore out the patience of the laundry-maids 
by the number of shirts he put on per day ; for we 
washed for all our guests, there was no one in all Rothie- 
murchus competent to earn a penny in this way. He 
was a " very clean gentleman," and took a bath twice a 
day, not in the river, but in a tub a tub brought up 
from the wash-house, for in those days the chamber 
apparatus for ablutions was quite on the modern French 
scale, Grace Baillie was with us with all her pelisses, 
dressing in all the finery she could muster, and in every 
style ; sometimes like a flower-girl, sometimes like Juno ; 
now she was queen-like, then Arcadian, then corps de 
ballet, the most amusing and extraordinary figure stuck 
over with coloured glass ornaments, and by way of 
being outrageously refined ; the most complete contrast 
to her sister the Lady Logie. Well, Miss Baillie coming 
upstairs to dress for dinner, opened the door to the left 
instead of the door to the right, and came full upon 
short, fat, black Mr Macklin in his tub ! Such a 
commotion! we heard it in our schoolroom. Miss 
Baillie would not appear at dinner. Mr Macklin, who 
was full of fun, would stay upstairs if she did ; she 
insisted on his immediate departure, he insisted on their 
swearing eternal friendship. Such a hubbub was never 
in a house before. " If she'd been a young girl, one 
would a'most forgive her nonsense," said Mrs Bird, the 
nurse. " If she had had common sense," said Miss 
Ramsay, " she would have held her tongue ; shut the 
door and held her tongue, and no one would have been 
the wiser." We did not forget this lesson in presence 
of mind, but no one having ventured on giving even 


an idea of it to Miss Baillie, her adventure much annoyed 
the ladies, while it furnished the gentlemen with an 
excuse for such roars of laughter as might almost have 
brought down the ceiling of the dining-room. 

Our particular friend, Sir Robert Ainslie, was 
another who made a long stay with us. He brought 
to my mother the first of those little red morocco cases 
full of needles she had seen, where the papers were all 
arranged in sizes, on a slope, which made it easy to 
select from them. 

This was the first season I can recollect seeing a 
family we all much liked, Colonel Gordon and his 
tribe of fine sons. He brought them up to Glentromie 
in a boat set on wheels, which after performing coach 
on the roads was used for loch-fishing in the hills. 
He was a most agreeable and gentlemanly man, full 
of amusing conversation, and always welcome to every 
house on the way. He was said to be a careless 
father, and not a kind husband to his very pretty wife, 
who certainly never accompanied him up to the Glen. 
He was a natural son of the Duke of Gordon's, a great 
favourite with the Duchess ! much beloved by Lord 
Huntly whom he exceedingly resembled, and so might 
have done better for himself and all belonging to him, 
had not the Gordon brains been of the lightest with 
him. He was not so flighty, however, as another 
visitor we always received for a few days, Lovat, the 
Chief of the Clan Fraser, who was indeed a connection, 
The peerage had been forfeited by the wicked lord in 
the last rebellion, the lands and the chieftainship had 
been left with a cousin, the rightful heir, who had 
sprung from the common stock before the attainder. 
He was an old man, and his quiet, comfortable-looking 
wife was an old woman. They had been at Cluny, the 
lady of the Macpherson chieftain being their niece, or 
the laird their nephew, I don't exactly know which ; 
and their servants told ours they had had a hard 
matter to get their master away, for he was subject to 
strange whims, and he had taken it into his head when 
he was there that he was a turkey hen, and so he made 


a nest of straw in his carriage and filled it with eggs 
and a large stone, and there he sat hatching, never 
leaving his station but twice a day like other fowl, and 
having his supplies of food brought to him. They had 
at last to get Lady Cluny's henwife to watch a proper 
moment to throw out all the eggs and to put some 
young chickens in their place, when Lovat, satisfied he 
had accomplished his task, went about clucking and 
strutting with wonderful pride in the midst of them. 
He was quite sane in conversation generally, rather an 
agreeable man I heard them say, and would be as 
steady as other people for a certain length of time ; 
but every now and then he took these strange fancies, 
when his wife had much ado to bring him out of them. 
The fit was over when he came to us. It was the year 
of the Jubilee when George III. had reigned his fifty 
years. There had been great doings at Inverness, 
which this old man described to us with considerable 
humour. His lady had brought away with her some 
little ornaments prepared for the occasion, and kindly 
distributed some of them among us. I long kept a 
silver buckle with his Majesty's crowned head some- 
where upon it, and an inscription commemorating the 
event in pretty raised letters surrounding the medallion. 
By the bye it was on the entrance of the old king upon 
his fiftieth year of reign that the Jubilee was kept, in 
October I fancy 1809, for his state of health was such 
he was hardly expected to live to complete it ; that is, 
the world at large supposed him to be declining. 
Those near his person must have known that it was the 
mind that was diseased, not the strong body, which 
lasted many a long year after this, though every now 
and then his death was expected, probably desired, for 
he had ceased to be a popular sovereign. John Bull 
respected the decorum of his domestic life, and the 
ministerial Tory party of course made the best of him. 
All we of this day can say of him is, that he was a 
better man than his son, though, at the period I am 
writing of, the Whigs, among whom I was reared, were 
very far indeed from believing in this truism. 

94 A TOUR OF VISITS [1809 

It was this autumn that a very great pleasure was 
given to me. I was taken on a tour of visits with my 
father and mother. We went first to Inverness, where 
my father had business with his agent, Mr Cooper. 
None of the lairds in our north countrie managed their 
own affairs, all were in the hands of some little writer 
body, who to judge by consequences ruined most of 
their clients. One of these leeches generally sufficed 
for ordinary victims. My dear father was preyed on 
by two or three, of which fraternity Mr Arthur Cooper 
was one. He had married Miss Jenny and made her 
a very indulgent husband ; her few hundreds and the 
connection might have been her principal attractions, 
but once attracted, she retained her power over him to 
the end. She was plain but ladylike, she had very 
pretty, gentle manners, a pleasing figure, beautiful hand, 
dressed neatly, kept a very comfortable house, and 
possessed a clear judgment, with high principles and a 
few follies ; a little absurd pride, given her perhaps by 
my great-aunt, the Lady Logic, who had brought her 
up and was very fond of her. We were all very fond 
of Mrs Cooper, and she adored my father. While we 
were at Inverness we paid some morning visits too 
characteristic of the Highlands to be omitted in this 
true chronicle of the times ; they were all in the Clan. 
One was to the Misses Grant of Kinchurdy, who were 
much patronised by all of their name, although they had 
rather scandalised some of their relations by setting up 
as dressmakers in the county town. Their taste was 
not perfect, and their skill was not great, yet they 
prospered. Many a comfort earned by their busy 
needles found its way to the fireside of the retired 
officer their father, and their helping pounds bought 
the active officer, their brother, his majority. We next 
called on Mrs Grant, late of Aviemore, and her 
daughters, who had set up a school, no disparagement 
to the family of an innkeeper although the blood they 
owned was gentle, and last we took luncheon with my 
great-aunt, the Lady Glenmoriston, a handsome old 
lady with great remains of shrewdness in her counten- 


ance. I thought her cakes and custards excellent; 
my mother, who had seen them all come out of a 
cupboard in the bedroom, found her appetite fail her 
that morning. Not long before we had heard of her 
grandson our cousin Patrick's death, the eldest of my 
father's wards, the Laird ; she did not appear to feel 
the loss, yet she did not long survive him. A clever 
wife, as they say in the Highlands, she was in her 
worldly way. I did not take a fancy to her. 

We left Inverness nothing loth, Mrs Cooper's small 
house in the narrow, dull street of that little town not 
suiting my ideas of liberty ; and we proceeded in the 
open barouche and four to call at Nairn upon our way 
to Forres. At Nairn, comfortless dreary Nairn, where 
no tree ever grew, we went to see a sister of Logic's, a 
cousin, a Mrs Baillie, some of whose sons had found 
31 Lincoln's Inn Fields a pleasant resting-place on the 
road to India. Her stepson for she was a second wife 
the great Colonel Baillie of Bundelcund and of Leys, 
often in his pomposity, when I knew him afterwards, 
recalled to my mind the very bare plenishing of this 
really nice old lady. The small, cold house chilled our 
first feelings. The empty room, uncurtained, half 
carpeted, with a few heavy chairs stuck formally against 
the walls, and one dark-coloured, well-polished table 
set before the fireplace, repressed all my gay spirits. 
It took a great deal of bread and marmalade, scones 
and currant wine, and all the kind welcome of the little, 
brisk old lady to restore them ; not till she brought out 
her knitting did I feel at home a hint remembered 
with profit. Leaving this odious fisher place very near 
as quick as King James did, we travelled on to dine at five 
o'clock at Burgie, a small, shapeless square of a house, 
about two miles beyond Forres, one of the prettiest of 
village towns, taking situation into the account. There 
is a low hill with a ruin on it, round which the few 
streets have clustered ; trees and fields are near, 
wooded knolls not far distant, gentlemen's dwellings 
peep up here and there ; the Moray Firth, the town and 
Sutors of Cromartie, and the Ross-shire hills in the 


distance; between the village and the sea extends a 
rich flat of meadowland, through which the Findhorn 
flows, and where stand the ruins of the ancient Abbey 
of Kinloss, my father's late purchase. I don't know 
why all this scene impressed me more than did the 
beautiful situation of Inverness. In after-years I did 
not fail in admiration of our northern capital, but at 
this period I cannot remember any feeling about 
Inverness except the pleasure of getting out of 
it, while at Forres all the impressions were vivid 
because agreeable ; that is I, the perceiver, was in a 
fitting frame of mind for perceiving. How many 
travellers, ay, thinkers, judges, should we sift in this 
way, to get at the truth of their relations. On a bilious 
day authors must write tragically. 

The old family of Dunbar of Burgie, said to be 
descended from Randolph, Earl of Moray though all 
the links of the chain of connection were far from being 
forthcoming had dwindled down rather before our day 
to somebody nearly as small as a bonnet Laird ; his 
far-away collateral heir, who must have been a most 
ungainly lad, judging from his extraordinary appear- 
ance in middle age, had gone out to the West Indies to 
better his fortunes, returning to take possession of his 
inheritance a little before my father's marriage. In 
figure something the shape of one of his own sugar 
hogsheads, with two short thick feet standing out 
below, and a round head settled on the top like a picture 
in the Penny Magazine of one of the old English 
punishments, and a countenance utterly indescribable 
all cheek and chin and mouth, without half the proper 
quantity of teeth; dressed too like a mountebank in 
a light blue silk embroidered waistcoat and buff satin 
breeches, and this in Pitt and Fox days, when the dark 
blue coat, and the red or the buff waistcoat, according 
to the wearer's party, were indispensable. So dressed, 
Mr Dunbar presented himself to my father, to be 
introduced by him to an Edinburgh assembly. My 
father, always fine, then a beau, and to the last very 
nervous under ridicule! But Burgie was a worthy 


man, honest and upright and kind-hearted, modest as 
well, for he never fancied his own merits had won him 
his wealthy bride ; their estates joined, " and that," as 
he said himself, "was the happy coincidence." The 
Lady Burgie and her elder sister, Miss Brodie of 
Lethen, were co-heiresses. Coulmonie, a very pictur- 
esque little property on the Findhorn, was the principal 
possession of the younger when she gave her hand to 
her neighbour, but as Miss Brodie never married, all 
their wide lands were united for many a year to the 
names and titles of the three contracting parties, and 
held by Mr and Mrs Dunbar Brodie of Burgie, Lethen, 
and Coulmonie during their long reign of dulness ; 
precedence being given to the gentleman after some 
consideration. They lived neither at very pretty 
Coulmonie, nor at very comfortable Lethen, nor even in 
the remains of the fine old Castle of Burgie, one tall 
tower of which rose from among the trees that sheltered 
its surrounding garden, and served only as storehouse 
and toolhouse for that department ; they built for them- 
selves the tea-canister-like lodge we found them in, and 
placed it far from tree or shrub, or any object but the 
bare moor of Macbeth's witches. My spare time at 
this romantic residence was spent mostly in the tower, 
there being up at the top of it an apple-room, where 
some little maiden belonging to the household was 
occupied in wiping the apples and laying them on the 
floor in a bed of sand. In this room was a large chest, 
made of oak with massive hasps, several padlocks, and 
a chain ; very heavy, very grand-looking, indeed awful, 
from its being so alone, so secured, and so mysteriously 
hidden as it were. It played its part in after-years, 
when all that it did and all that was done to it shall 
take the proper place in these my memoirs, if I live to 
get so far on in my chroniclings. At this time I was 
afraid even to allude to it, there appeared to be some- 
thing so supernatural about the look of it. 

Of course we had several visits to pay from Burgie. 
In the town of Forres we had to see old Mrs Provost 
Grant and her daughters, Miss Jean and Miss I 


98 MISS JEAN PRO [1809 

forget what but she, the nameless one, died. Miss 
Jean, always called in those parts Miss Jean Pro, 
because her mother was the widow of the late Provost, 
was the living frontispiece to the "world of fashion." 
A plain, ungainly, middle-aged woman, with good 
Scotch sense when it was wanted, occupied every 
waking hour in copying the new modes in dress; no 
change was too absurd for Miss Jean's imitation, and 
her task was not a light one, her poor purse being 
scanty, and the Forres shops, besides being dear, were 
111 supplied. My mother, very unwisely, had told me 
her appearance would surprise me, and that I must be 
upon my guard and show my good breeding by looking 
as little at this figure of fun as if she were like other 
people ; and my father repeated the story of the 
Duchess of Gordon, who received at dinner at Kinrara 
some poor dominie, never before in such a presence ; he 
answered all her civil inquiries thus, "'Deed no, my 
Lady Duchess ; my Lady Duchess, 'deed yes," she look- 
ing all the while exactly as if she had never been other- 
wise addressed not even a side smile to the amused 
circle around her, lest she might have wounded the 
good man's feelings. I always liked that story, and 
thought of it often before and since, and had it well on 
my mind on this occasion ; but it did not prevent my 
long gaze of surprise at Miss Pro. In fact, no one 
could have avoided opening wide eyes at the caricature 
of the modes she exhibited ; she was^#, too, very fine, 
mincing her words to make them English, and too good 
to be laughed at, which somehow made it the more 
difficult not to laugh at her. In the early days, when 
her father, besides his little shop, only kept the post- 
office in Forres, she, the eldest of a whole troop of 
bairns, did her part well in the humble household, 
helping her mother in her many cares, and to good 
purpose ; for of the five clever sons who out of this rude 
culture grew up to honour in every profession they 
made choice of, three returned " belted knights" to lay 
their laurels at the feet of their old mother ; not in the 
same poor but and ben in which she reared them ; they 

1809] MOY 99 

took care to shelter her age in a comfortable house, with 
a drawing-room upstairs, where we found the family 
party assembled, a rather ladylike widow of the eldest 
son (a Bengal civilian) forming one of it. Mrs Pro was 
well born of the Arndilly Grants, and very proud she 
was of her lineage, though she had made none the 
worse wife to the honest man she married for his 
failure in this particular. In manners she could not 
have been his superior, the story going that in her 
working days she called out loud, about the first thing 
in the morning, to the servant lass to "put on the 
parritch for the pigs and the bairns," the pigs as most 
useful coming first. 

From Burgie we went back a few miles to Moy, an 
old-fashioned house, very warm and very comfortable, 
and very plentiful, quite a contrast, where lived a 
distant connection, an old Colonel Grant, a cousin of 
Glenmoriston's, with a very queer wife, whom he had 
brought home from the Cape of Good Hope. This old 
man, unfortunately for me, always breakfasted upon 
porridge ; my mother, who had particular reasons for 
wishing to make herself agreeable to him, informed him 
I always did the same, so during the three days of 
this otherwise pleasant visit a little plate of porridge 
for me was placed next to the big plate of porridge for 
him, and I had to help myself to it in silent sadness, for 
I much disliked this kind of food as it never agreed 
with me, and though at Moy they gave me cream with 
it, I found it made me just as sick and heavy after- 
wards as when I had the skimmed milk at home. 
They were kind old people these in their homely 

From Moy we went straight to Elgin, where I 
remember only the immense library belonging to the 
shop of Mr Grant the bookseller, and the ruins of the 
fine old Cathedral. We got to Duffus to dinner, and 
remained there a few days with Sir Archibald and 
Lady Dunbar and their tribe of children. Lady 
Dunbar was one of the Cummings of Altyre one 
of a dozen and she had about a dozen herself, all 

100 GORDONSTOWN [1809 

the girls handsome. The house was very full. We 
went upon expeditions every morning, danced all the 
evenings, the children forming quite a part of the 
general company, and as some of the Altyre sisters 
were there, I felt perfectly at home. Ellen and 
Margaret Dunbar wore sashes with their white frocks, 
and had each a pair of silk stockings which they 
drew on for full dress, a style that much surprised 
me, as I, at home or abroad, had only my pink 
gingham frocks for the morning, white calico for the 
afternoon, cotton stockings at all times, and not a 
ribbon, a curl, or an ornament about me. 

One day we drove to Gordonstown, an extra- 
ordinary palace of a house lately descended to Sir 
William, along with a large property, where he had to 
add the Southron Gordon to the Wolf of Badenoch's 
long-famed name, not that it is quite clear that the 
failing clan owes allegiance to this branch particularly, 
but there being no other claimant Altyre passes for 
the Comyn Chief. His name is on the roll of the 
victors at Bannockburn as a chieftain undoubtedly. 
I wonder what can have been done with Gordonstown. 
It was like the side of a square in a town for extent 
of fagade, and had remains of rich furnishings in it, 
piled up in the large deserted rooms, a delightful bit 
of romance to the young Dunbars and me. Another 
day we went greyhound coursing along the fine bold 
cliffs near Peterhead, and in a house on some bleak 
point or other we called on a gentleman and his sister, 
who showed us coins, vases, and spear-heads found on 
excavating for some purpose in their close neighbour- 
hood at Burghead, all Roman ; on going lower the 
workmen came upon a bath, a spring enclosed by 
cut-stone walls, a mosaic pavement surrounding 
the bath, steps descending to it, and paintings on 
the walls. The place was known to have been a 
Roman station with many others along the south side 
of the Moray Firth. We had all of us great pleasure 
in going to see these curious remains of past ages thus 
suddenly brought to light. I remember it all perfectly 


as if I had visited it quite lately, and I recollect 
regretting that the walls were in many parts defaced. 

On leaving Duffus we drove on to Garmouth to see 
Mr Steenson, my father's wood agent there ; he had 
charge of all the timber floated down the Spey from 
the forest of Rothiemurchus where it had grown for 
ages, to the shore near Fochabers where it was sorted 
and stacked for sale. There was a good-natured wife 
who made me a present of a milk-jug in the form of 
a cow, which did duty at our nursery feasts for a 
wonderful while, considering it was made of crockery 
ware ; and rather a pretty daughter, just come from 
the finishing school at Elgin, and stiff and shy of 
course. These ladies interested me much less than 
did the timber-yard, where all my old friends the logs, 
the spars, and the deals and my mother's oars were 
piled in such quantities as appeared to me endless. 
The great width of the Spey, the bridge at Fochabers, 
and the peep of the towers of Gordon Castle from 
amongst the cluster of trees that concealed the rest 
of the building, all return to me now as a picture of 
beauty. The Duke lived very disreputably in this 
solitude, for he was very little noticed, and, I believe, 
preferred seclusion. 

It was late when we reached Leitchison, a large 
wandering house in a flat bare part of the country, 
which the Duke had given, with a good farm attached, 
to his natural son Colonel Gordon, our Glentromie 
friend. Bright fires were blazing in all the large 
rooms, to which long passages led, and all the merry 
children were jumping about the hall anxiously waiting 
for us. There were five or six fine boys, and one 
daughter, Jane, named after the Duchess. Mrs Gordon 
and her two sisters, the dark beautiful Agnes, and fat, 
red-haired Charlotte, were respectably connected in 
Elgin, had money, were well educated and so popular 
women. Mrs Gordon was pretty and pleasing, and 
the Colonel in company delightful ; but somehow they 
did not get on harmoniously together ; he was eccentric 
and extravagant, she peevish, and so they lived very 

102 LOGIE [1809 

much asunder. I did not at all approve of the ways 
of the house after DufTus, where big and little people 
all associated in the family arrangements. Here at 
Leitchison the children were quite by themselves, with 
porridge breakfasts and broth dinners, and very cross 
Charlotte Ross to keep us in order. If she tried her 
authority on the Colonel as well, it was no wonder if he 
preferred the Highlands without her to the Lowlands 
with her, for I know I was not sorry when the four bays 
turned their heads westward, and, after a pleasant day's 
drive, on our return through Fochabers, Elgin, and 
Forres, again stopped at the door at Logic. 

Beautiful Logie ! a few miles up the Findhorn, on 
the wooded banks of that dashing river, wooded with 
beech and elm and oak centuries old ; a grassy holm on 
which the hideous house stood, sloping hills behind, the 
water beneath, the Darnaway woods beyond, and such 
a garden ! such an orchard ! well did we know the 
Logie pears, large hampers of them had often found 
their way to the Doune ; but the Logie guignes could 
only be tasted at the foot of the trees, and did not my 
young cousins and I help ourselves ! Logie himself, 
my father's first cousin, was a tall, fine-looking man, 
with a very ugly Scotch face, sandy hair and huge 
mouth, ungainly in manner yet kindly, very simple in 
character, in fact a sort of goose ; much liked for his 
hospitable ways, respected for his old Cumming blood 
(he was closely related to Altyre), and admired for one 
accomplishment, his playing on the violin. He had 
married rather late in life one of the cleverest women of 
the age, an Ayrshire Miss Baillie, a beauty in her youth, 
for she was Burns' " Bonnie Leslie," and a bit of a 
fortune, and she gave herself to the militia captain 
before she had ever seen the Findhorn ! and they were 
very happy. He looked up to her without being afraid 
of her, for she gave herself no superior wisdom airs, 
indeed she set out so heartily on St Paul's advice to be 
subject to her husband, that she actually got into a 
habit of thinking he had judgment ; and my mother 
remembered a whole room full of people hardly able to 


keep their countenances, when she, giving her opinion 
on some disputed matter, clenched the argument as she 
supposed, by adding, " It's not my conviction only, but 
Mr Gumming says so." She was too Southron to call 
the Laird " Logie." Logie banks and Logie braes ! 
how very lovely ye were on those bright autumn days, 
when wandering through the beech woods upon the 
rocky banks of the Findhorn, we passed hours, my 
young cousins and I, out in the pure air, unchecked of 
any one. Five sons and one fair daughter the Lady 
Logie bore her Laird ; they were not all born at the 
time I write of. Poor Alexander and Robert, the two 
eldest, fine handsome boys, were my companions in 
these happy days ; long since mourned for in their 
early graves. There was a strange mixture of the 
father's simplicity and the mother's shrewdness in all 
the children, and the same in their looks; only two 
were regularly handsome, May Anne and Alexander, 
who was his mother's darling. Clever as she was she 
made far too much distinction between him and the 
rest ; he was better dressed, better fed, more considered 
in every way than the younger ones, and yet not 
spoiled. He never assumed and they never envied, it 
was natural that the young Laird should be most 
considered. A tutor, very little older than themselves, 
and hardly as well dressed, though plaiding was the 
wear of all, taught the boys their humanities ; he ate 
his porridge at the side-table with them, declining the 
after-cup of tea, which Alexander alone went to the 
state-table to receive. At dinner it was the same 
system still, broth and boiled mutton, or the kain fowl 
at the poor tutor's side-table. Yet he revered the 
Lady ; everybody did ; every one obeyed her without 
a word, or even, I believe, a thought, that it was 
possible her orders could be incorrect. Her manner 
was very kind, very simple, though she had an affected 
way of speaking ; but it was her strong sense, her 
truthful honesty, her courage moral courage, for the 
body's was weak enough her wit, her fire, her 
readiness that made her the queen of the intellect of 


the north countrie. Every one referred to her in 
their difficulties ; it was well that no winds wandered 
over the reeds that grew by the side of the Lady Logie. 
Yet she was worldly in a degree, no one ever more truly 
counselled for the times, or lived more truly up to the 
times, but so as it was no reproach to her. She was 
with us often at the Doune with or without the Laird, 
Alexander sometimes her companion, and he would be 
left with us while she was over at Kinrara, where she 
was a great favourite. I believe it was intended by the 
family to marry Alexander to Mary, they were very 
like and of suitable ages, and he was next heir of entail 
presumptive to Rothiemurchus after my brothers. It 
had also been settled to marry first Sir William 
Gumming and afterwards Charles, to me. Jane oddly 
enough was let alone, though we always understood her 
to be the favourite with everybody. 

My father had a story of Mrs Gumming that often 
has come into my head since. He put her in mind of 
it now, when she declined going on in the carriage with 
him and my mother to dine at Relugas, where we were 
to remain for a few days. She had no great faith in 
four-in-hands on Highland roads, at our English 
coachman's rate of driving. She determined on walking 
that lovely mile by the river-side, with Alexander and 
the "girlie" me as her escort; her dress during the 
whole of our visit, morning, noon, and night, was a 
scarlet cloth gown made in habit fashion, only without 
a train, braided in black upon the breast and cuffs, and 
on her head a black velvet cap, smartly set on one side, 
bound with scarlet cord, and having a long scarlet 
tassel, which dangled merrily enough now, as my father 
reminded her of what he called the " Passage of the 
Spey." It seemed that upon one occasion when she 
was on a visit to us, they were all going together to 
dine at Kinrara, and as was usual with them then, 
before the ford at our offices was settled enough to use 
when the water was high, or the road made passable 
for a heavy carriage up the bank of the boyack, they 
were to cross the Spey at the ford below Kinapol close 

1809] RELUGAS 105 

to Kinrara. The river had risen very much after heavy 
rain in the hills, and the ford, never shallow, was now 
so deep that the water was up above the small front 
wheels and in under the doors, flooding the footboard. 
My mother sat still and screamed. Mrs Gumming 
doubled herself up orientally upon the seat, and in a 
commanding voice, though pale with terror, desired the 
coachman, who could not hear her, to turn. On 
plunged the horses, in rushed more water, both ladies 
shrieked. My father attempted the masculine consola- 
tion of appealing to their sense of eyesight, which would 
show them "returning were as tedious as going o'er,'* 
that the next step must be into the shallows. The 
Lady Logie turned her head indignantly, her body she 
could not move, and from her divan-like seat she thus 
in tragic tones replied "A reasonable man like you, 
Rothiemurchus, to attempt to appeal to the judgment 
of a woman while under the dominion of the passion of 
fear 1 " 

At Relugas lived an old Mrs Cuming, with one m, 
the widow of I don't know whom, her only child her 
heiress daughter, and the daughter's husband, Tom 
Lauder. He had some income from his father, was to 
have more when his father died, and a large inheritance 
with a baronetcy at an uncle's death, Lord Fountainhall. 
It had been a common small Scotch house, but an 
Italian front had been thrown before the old building, 
an Italian tower had been raised above the offices, and 
with neatly kept grounds it was about the prettiest 
place ever lived in. The situation was beautiful, on a 
high tongue of land between the Divie and the 
Findhorn the wild, leaping, rocky-bedded Divie and 
the broader and rapid Findhorn. All along the banks 
of both were well-directed paths among the wooding, 
a group of children flitting about the heathery braes, 
and the heartiest, merriest welcome within. Mr and 
Mrs Lauder were little more than children themselves, 
in manner at least; really young in years and gifted 
with almost bewildering animal spirits, they did keep 
up a racket at Relugas ! It was one eternal carnival : 

106 A MERRY SET [1800 

up late, a plentiful Scotch breakfast, out all day, a 
dinner of many courses, mumming all the evening, and 
a supper at the end to please the old lady. A Colonel 
Somebody had a story ages after this, however that 
having received an appointment to India, he went to 
take leave of his kind friends at Relugas. It was in the 
evening, and instead of rinding a quiet party at tea, 
he got into a crowd of popes, cardinals, jugglers, gipsies, 
minstrels, flower-girls, etc., the usual amusements of the 
family. He spent half a lifetime in the East, and 
returning to his native place thought he would not pass 
that same hospitable door. He felt as in a dream, or 
as if his years of military service had been a dream 
there was all the crowd of mountebanks again ! The 
only difference was in the actors ; children had 
grown up to take the places of the elders, some children, 
for all the elders were not gone. Sir Thomas Dick 
Lauder wore as full a turban, made as much noise, and 
was just as thin as the Tom Lauder of twenty years 
before, and his good lady, equally travestied and a 
little stouter, did not look a day older with her grown- 
up daughters round her, than she did in her own girlish 
times. It was certainly a pleasant house for young 
people. Sir Thomas, with all his frivolity, was a very 
accomplished man ; his taste was excellent, as all his 
improvements showed ; no walks could have been 
better conducted, no trees better placed, no views better 
chosen, and this refinement was carried all through, to 
the colours of the furniture and the arrangement of It. 
He drew well, sketched very accurately from nature, 
was clever at puzzles, bouts-rinUs^ etc. the very man 
for a country neighbourhood. Her merit was in 
implicitly following his lead ; she thought, felt, saw, 
heard as he did, and if his perceptions altered or varied, 
so did hers. There never was such a patient Grizzel ; 
and the curious part of their history was that being 
early destined by their parents to go together, they 
detested one another, as children did nothing but 
quarrel, agreed no better as they grew, being at one on 
one only point, that they never would marry. How to 

1809] RETURN HOME 107 

avoid such .a catastrophe was the single subject they 
discussed amicably. They grew confidential upon it 
quite, and it ended in their settlement at Relugas. 

This merry visit ended our tour. We drove home 
in a few hours over the long, dreary moor between the 
Spey and the Findhorn, passing one of the old strong- 
holds of the Grants, the remains of a square tower 
beside a lonely lake a very lonely lake, for not a tree 
nor a shrub was near it ; and resting the horses at the 
Bridge of Carr, a single arch over the Dulnam, near 
which had clustered a few cottages, a little inn amongst 
them sheltered by trees ; altogether a bit of beauty in 
the desert I had been so good all this tour, well 
amused, made of, and not worried, that Miss Ramsay 
was extremely complimented on the improvement she 
had effected in my naturally bad disposition. As if 
there were any naturally bad dispositions ! Don't we 
crook them, and stunt them, and force them, and break 
them, and do everything in the world except let them 
alone to expand in pure air to the sun, and nourish 
them healthfully ? 

We were now to prepare for a journey to London. 
I recollect rather a tearful parting from a companion to 
whom we had become much attached, Mr Peter of 
DuthiPs youngest son or only son, for all I know, as I 
never saw any other. Willie Grant was a fine hand- 
some boy, a favourite with everybody and the darling of 
his poor father, who had but this bright spot to cheer 
his dull home horizon. All this summer Willie had 
come to the Doune with the parson every third Sunday ; 
that is, they came on the Saturday, and generally 
remained over Monday. He was older than any of us, 
but not too old to share all our out-of-door fun, and he 
was full of all good, really and truly sterling. We were 
to love one another for ever, yet we never met again. 
When we returned to the Highlands he was in the East 
India Military College, and then he sailed, and though 
he lived to come home, marry, and settle in the High- 
lands, neither Jane nor I ever saw him more. How 
many of these fine lads did my father and Charles Grant 


send out to India ! Some that throve, some that only 
passed, some that made a name we were all proud of, 
and not one that I heard of that disgraced the homely 
rearing of their humbly-positioned but gentle-born 
parents. The moral training of those simple times bore 
its fair fruits : the history of many great men in the last 
age began in a cabin. Sir Charles Forbes was the son 
of a small farmer in Aberdeenshire. Sir William 
Grant, the Master of the Rolls, was a mere peasant his 
uncles floated my father's timber down the Spey as long 
as they had strength to follow the calling. General 
William Grant was a footboy in my uncle Rothie's 
family. Sir Colquhoun Grant, though a woodsetter's 
child, was but poorly reared, in the same fashion as Mrs 
Pro's fortunate boys. Sir William Macgregor, whose 
history was most romantic of all, was such another. 
The list could be easily lengthened did my memory 
serve, but these were among the most striking examples 
of what the good plain schooling of the dominie, the 
principles and the pride of the parents, produced in 
young ardent spirits ; forming characters which, how- 
ever they were acted on by the world, never forgot 
home feelings, although they proved this differently. 
The Master of the Rolls, for instance, left all his 
relations in obscurity. A small annuity rendered his 
parents merely independent of hard labour ; very 
moderate portions just secured for his sisters decent 
matches in their own degree ; an occasional remittance 
in a bad season helped an uncle or a brother out of a 
difficulty. I never heard of his going to see them, or 
bringing any of them out of their own sphere to visit 
him. While the General shoved on his brothers, 
educated his nephews and nieces, pushed the boys up, 
married the girls well such as had a wish to raise 
themselves and almost resented the folly of Peter the 
Pensioner, who would not part with one of his flock 
from the very humble home where he chose to keep 
them. Which plan was wisest, or was either quite 
right ? Which relations were happiest those whose 
feelings were sometimes hurt, or those whose frames 


were sometimes over-wearied and but scantily re- 
freshed? I often pondered in my own young mind 
over these and similar questions ; but just at the time of 
our last journey from the Doune to London less 
puzzling matters principally occupied my sister Jane 
and me. 

We were not sure whether or no Miss Ramsay were 
to remain with us ; neither were we sure whether or no 
we wished it. We should have more of our own way 
without her, that was certain ; but whether that would 
be so good for us, whether we should get on as well in 
all points by ourselves, we were beginning to be 
suspicious of. She had taught us the value of constant 
employment, regular habits, obliging manners, and we 
knew, though we did not allow it, that there would be 
less peace as well as less industry should we be again 
left to govern ourselves. However, so it was settled. 
Miss Ramsay was dropped at Newcastle amongst her 
own friends, and for the time the relief from restraint 
seemed most agreeable. 


HAVING got so far in these memorials of past life, the 
pleasure of the many half-forgotten incidents now 
revived induces me to proceed in stringing together 
such recollections of our generation as can hardly fail, 
dear children, to be interesting to you. The feebleness 
of my health at present confines me so much to my 
room that I am neglecting nothing else while thus 
employing myself, so, though I have lost one listener to 
the chapters as they are concluded, dear Janie Gardiner 
being no longer among us, on I go as at Avranches, 
feeling that if any of you are like me, this history will 
be a curious family legend to refer to. 

We left the Highlands, then, late in the autumn of 
1809, an d reached London in about three weeks from 
the time we set out. During the winter, and the spring 
of 1810, we were occupied as usual with our several 
masters, under whom we could not fail to make a 
certain degree of progress, because we were quick 
children and they were clever instructors, but we by no 
means duly improved our time, or conscientiously 
worked out the value of my father's money and 
kindness. For want of a steady director we got into 
habits of dawdling, idling, omitting, and so on, and we 
were very irregular in our hours, setting the authority 
of our maid, Margaret Davidson, at defiance. 

We were extremely fond of a visit to Brunswick 
Square ; the baby cousins there of whom there were now 
three, John, Lizzy, and George, were charming play- 

1809-10] MOTHER'S FRIENDS 111 

things, and all our aunt's tall brothers-in-law were so 
fond of us, so very kind to us. Another particular friend 
was Mrs Sophy Williams, my father's old governess, 
who very often came to see us and never empty- 
handed, and we used to go to visit her where she then 
lived at Kensington as companion to old Mrs Anguish, 
the mother or the aunt of the Duchess of Leeds, and 
a relation of Mrs Raper's. It was one of those old- 
fashioned households now hardly remembered, where 
the fires were all put out, the carpets all taken up, and 
curtains down upon the ist of May, not to be replaced 
in those shivery rooms until the 1st of October; where 
the hard high-backed chairs were ranged against the 
wall, and a round, club-legged, darkly-polished table 
stood quite bare in the middle ;of the room. In one 
window was a parrot on a perch, screaming for ever, 
" How d'ye do ? " In the other the two old ladies with 
their worsted work, their large baskets, and their fat 
spaniel. Mrs Anguish talked a great deal of scandal to 
my mother about the court of the good Queen Charlotte, 
the Prince and the Duchess of Devonshire, the Duke of 
Devonshire and Lady Elizabeth Foster, sundry irregu- 
larities among the nobles of past and present days ; 
while dear Mrs Williams described Twyford and 
Thorley, told of my grandmother's warm heart and 
warmer temper, of my father's quaint sayings, and aunt 
Lissy's goodness. We used also to visit Mrs Thrale 
(Dr Johnson's), who was then Mrs Piozzi her house 
a sort of museum and Lady Keith, her daughter, and 
in a beautiful villa looking on Rotten Row, Mrs Murray 
Aust, whose tour in the Highlands had made her rather 
celebrated ; and dear old Mrs Raper in her melancholy 
back drawing-room in Wimpole Street, where I never 
yet found her doing anything whatever, though her 
mind must have been well filled at some former time, 
for she drew upon its stores in conversation most 
agreeably ; and Mrs Charles Ironside, and old Mrs 
Maling I remember. What other acquaintances my 
mother called on I do not know, for we were always left 
in the carriage except at the foregoing houses. She 

112 SHOPPING [1809-10 

generally drove out every day, and some of us were 
always with her. On the week-days she made her visits 
and went shopping to Green the glover's in little 
Newport Street, next door to such beautiful dolls, a 
whole shop of no other toy, some the size of life, opening 
and shutting their eyes, as was then a rare virtue ; to 
Roberts and Plowman ; to Gray the jeweller ; to 
Rundall and Bridge, so dirty and shabby without, such 
a fairy palace within, where on asking a man who was 
filling a scoop with small brown-looking stones what he 
was doing, he told me he was shovelling in rubies ; to 
Miss Stewart, our delight, cakes and flattery and 
bundles of finery awaiting us there ; and then the three 
or four rooms full of hoops before the court days, 
machines of whalebone, very large, covered with silk, 
and then with lace or net, and hung about with festoons 
of lace and beads, garlands of flowers, puffings of ribbon, 
furbelows of all sorts. As the waists were short, how 
the imprisoned victims managed their arms we of this 
age can hardly imagine. The heads for these bodies 
were used as supports for whole faggots of feathers, as 
many as twelve sometimes standing bold upright 
forming really a forest of plumage; the long train 
stretched out behind, very narrow, more like a prolonged 
sash end than a garment. Yet there were beauties who 
wore this dress, and in it looked beautiful. We went to 
Churton's for our stockings, to Ross for my mother's 
wigs this was another queer fashion every woman, 
not alone the grey and the bald, wore an expensive wig 
instead of her own hair ; to Lowe for shoes, to St Paul's 
Church corner for books. I don't remember half the 

On Sundays we went to Lincoln's Inn Chapel in the 
morning, Sir William Grant looking kindly down upon 
us from his window. We dined, said our Catechism, 
and then all set out for Rotten Row, where the amuse- 
ment consisted in one long file of carriages at a foot's 
pace going one way, passing another long file of 
carriages at a foot's pace going the other, bows gravely 
exchanged between the occupants, when any of the busy 

1809-10] AMUSEMENTS 113 

starers were acquainted. All London was engaged in 
this serious business. We sometimes prevailed on my 
mother to make a diversion round the ring, that we 
might see the swans on the water, but she only now 
and then obliged us, much preferring that long proces- 
sion up and down a mile of dusty road the greater the 
crowd, the slower the move, the greater the pleasure. 
" Delightful drive in the park to-day " meant that there 
was hardly a possibility of cutting into the line, or 
moving much above a yard in a minute. " Most 
dreadfully stupid in the park to-day " meant that there 
was plenty of room for driving comfortably. 

On Sunday evenings my father took his tea upstairs. 
Other evenings we carried him down a large breakfast 
cup full of very strong tea to his study, where he was 
always seated immersed in papers with his secretary, 
little horrid Sandy Grant, whose strange voice sounded 
as if he spoke through a paper-covered comb. It was 
not law business that occupied them ; the poor clerk in 
the outer room had an idle time. Law-suits of his own, 
dreams of political influence, money loans, and all the 
perplexities and future miseries consequent on these 
busy evenings were being prepared in that study where 
we carried the cup of tea. How kindly my father 
smiled on his young messengers, how bright his room 
looked, how warm his fire ! We liked to go there, and 
we loved to linger. 

We were very seldom allowed to go to children's 
parties, nor did my mother ever give any for us at home. 
We went very often to the play, we three elder ones, 
and to Sadler's Wells and Astley's, and to some of the 
Concerts. Also this spring for the first time in my life 
I went to the Opera. We were all in the Square one 
afternoon, at a grand game of Tom Tiddler's ground, 
when one of my playmates told us that the little white 
flag, our homeward signal, was flying from our high 
windows. We ran off at once and were met at the 
gate by the footman, who said that I only was wanted. 
I was to dress as quick as possible in my best white 
frock to go to the Opera. How old was I that happy 


114 ILLNESSES [1810 

night ? thirteen within a week or two. My dress was 
a plain white frock with plenty of tucks, a little 
embroidery on the waist, white calico long gloves, and a 
cropped head, the hair brushed bright with rose oil, 
which to me made the toilet complete. The Opera 
was " II Fanatico." Naldi the father, with his full low 
notes, Mrs Billington his pupil daughter. She sang her 
solfeggi, all the exercises, and " Uno trillo sopra la" 
nothing ever was so beautiful, even the memory of those 
sounds, so clear, so sweet, so harmonious, that voice 
that ran about like silver water over pearls ! There is 
no enjoyment like good music, simple or complicated, 
so as it be truthfully and earnestly given ; it has ever 
afforded to me the most intense pleasure I am capable 
of receiving, and how little I have heard, and how vilely 
I made it ! 

We had a great fright this year by the very severe 
series of illnesses that attacked poor William. He 
brought the whooping-cough with him from Eton at 
Christmas, which we all caught from him, and a pleasant 
time we had, condemned to one side walk in the Square, 
from any approach to which all other children were 
strictly forbidden. It was not very bad with us, and 
towards the end we became rather attached to our 
visitor, for we had no lessons, no milk, delicious tea 
breakfasts, and dinners of puddings and such good 
things, with long daily drives far out into the country. 
William had not long been returned to school when he 
took the measles ; this turned to scarlet fever, and my 
mother went down to nurse him, with very faint hopes 
at one time of bringing him through. When he could 
be moved he was taken to Kensington to be under the 
care of Mrs Mary Williams, the elder sister of Sophy, 
who, with a blind sister, Anne, lived in a very neat 
house not far from the gardens. My mother went every 
day to see him, taking care to take off the dress she 
wore before allowing any of the rest of us to come near 
her, while any risk of infection was supposed to remain ; 
and yet both Jane and I got, not the measles, but the 
scarlet fever ; the younger ones escaped. 


It was about this time that I began to take more 
notice of any remarkable persons occasionally dining at 
my father's. The three eccentric brothers, Lord 
Buchan, Lord Erskine, and Harry Erskine (by far 
the most brilliant of the three) stand out foremost. It 
was a real treat to the whole family when this last with 
his agreeable wife came for a few weeks from Scotland, 
as we always saw a good deal of them. The Duchess 
of Gordon I remember with her loud voice, and Lady 
Madelina Sinclair, talking of Rothiemurchus and 
Kinrara. Lord Gillies and Mrs Gillies, in his advocate 
days, when appeal cases brought him to London. The 
Redfearns, whom / never saw, the sight of me recalling 
her lost boy (with the drum) so vividly that she could 
not bear the shock. There were the Master of the 
Rolls and some few English lawyers, Mr Ward 
(Tremaine), Sir Griffin Wilson, and William Frere ; and 
upon one occasion his intended wife Miss Gurdon, who 
sang with a voice and in a style only equalled by 

This year, after all the sickness, we went early to 
Tunbridge, my mother having suffered herself severely 
in consequence of her fatigue and anxiety. A large 
dull house, but a very comfortable one, was taken for 
us at the top of Sion Hill. It belonged to Mr Canning's 
mother, and had a really good garden, with a fine clump 
of shady trees in it, under which we children used to 
pass our days. My mother had some dislike to this 
place which suited all the rest of us so admirably, so, in 
the fiery month of June, we removed from this quiet, 
roomy, old-fashioned house to a smartened-up Grosvenor 
Lodge, a new bow-windowed villa on the London road, 
a full mile from the Wells, where the sun shone on us 
unmolested till we in the attics were nearly grilled ; but 
we were in the world, as well as in the sunshine and the 
dust besides. 

Aunt Leitch spent a short time with us at Grosvenor 
Lodge, and Annie Grant and Miss Maling. Aunt 
Leitch had been for some time a widow. She had 
given up Kilmerdinney to her husband's heir for a 

116 LIFE AT THE WELLS [1810 

consideration, and had joined in housekeeping with 
uncle Ralph, who had determined on letting Tennoch- 
side and coming south for a few years, in order better 
to educate his two children. We had our Highland 
neighbours, Belleville and Mrs Macpherson, also here ; 
of them we saw a great deal, having from first to last 
been always on the most friendly terms with them. 
My brother John, then Johnnie, a little creature in a 
nankin frock, and Belleville were so inseparable, that 
people soon began to look for them as one of the 
shows of the place, for they walked together in rather 
a singular manner. Belleville went first with his hands 
crossed behind his back, holding out his long stick, the 
end of which was taken by the child, who trotted on 
thus for hours, few words passing between the pair. 
Mrs Macpherson, who preferred the carriage, generally 
went an airing with us, my mother calling for her 
at her lodgings near the pantiles. We were really 
very happy this season at Tunbridge Wells, and so set 
up by the fine air that we could not have looked more 
healthy had we been in our own Duchus. 

Upon looking over the doings of this year so far, I 
find I have forgotten to mention quite a remarkable 
circumstance. Mrs Charles Grant, the old director's 
wife, invited us three little girls to accompany my 
father and mother to a great party she was giving in 
Russell Square a rout and we all went. It was to 
meet the Persian ambassador, the same who was Mr 
Morier's friend, and who got on in every way so well 
in this country that many years afterwards he was sent 
here again. I cannot at this moment recollect his 
name; he was a tall handsome man, not very dark. 
He spoke English quite well enough to be understood, 
and turned all the women's heads with his beautiful 
Eastern dress and flatteries. He was remarkably fond 
of children, always liked to have some in the room with 
him, which was the reason we had been distinguished 
by this invitation. There was wonderful commotion in 
the green room which Jane and I shared in common, 
little Mary venturing to show herself there, as she had 


been included among the company. Our dancing 
shoes, drab jean, were to do quite well, and cotton 
stockings, but we got new frocks of soft clear muslin, 
very full, with several deep tucks. All the three heads 
were fresh cropped and oiled, and as our toilets were 
being completed my mother entered, so beautifully 
dressed in white spotted muslin over straw-coloured 
silk, holding in her hands three pairs of white kid 
gloves, and three cairngorm crosses dangling to gold 
chains. Duncan Macintosh had given us the stones 
found on our own hills and she had had them set for 
us purposely to wear this evening. The Persian 
ambassador took a great deal of notice of us and of 
our sparkling crosses. Jane, of course, he most 
distinguished, her bright eyes and her rosy cheeks, and 
her lively natural manner equally free from forward- 
ness or shyness, always ensured her the attention of 
strangers. Both she and I behaved extremely well, 
we were told next day, papa and mamma quite satisfied 
with us, and with our propriety in the cake line, just 
helping ourselves once, as we had been told, and no 
more. Mary was suspected of more frequent helpings, 
also she tired and fell asleep on Belleville's knee, for he 
and Mrs Macpherson were there. Mrs Macpherson 
said laughingly to my mother when the great Mirza (I 
am sure now that was one of his names) was occupied 
so much with Jane, not very far from where sat an 
elderly Miss Perry, another director's daughter, with 
an enormous turban on her head, and a fine cashmere 
on her shoulders : " What would she give to be the 
object of such attention ? " the shawl and turban having 
been adopted, it was said, to attract the stranger, who 
had a wife and one little girl at home. 

Aunt Mary had invited me to be present at a great 
solemnity at Oxford, the Installation of Lord Grenville 
as Chancellor of the University, which ceremony was 
to take place in the month of July of this summer, 1810. 
It was quite an era in my life, the first indeed of any 
moment, and it filled my young heart with a tumultuous 
pleasure I was for some days unable to control. It 


was lucky for me that my father was from home, as he 
would have been very likely to have kept me there for 
showing myself so unfit to be trusted with my own 
conduct. We were never to annoy others with any 
excess of emotion, probably a good rule for such very 
excitable children, and yet it might have made us 
artificial, and it did afterwards make me appear affected, 
the struggle between feeling and fearing. I certainly 
did run a little wild on receiving aunt Griffith's letter 
(she liked us to call her by her husband's name). To 
visit alone ! To go to the Theatre ! Concerts ! 
Inaugurations! See degrees conferred ! Among such 
a crowd of great and noble, in classic Oxford, where 
stood Great Tom 1 It really half turned a head not 
then very steady. We had been reading Miss Porter's 
Scottish Chiefs, to initiate us into the realities of life 
and the truth of history ; and such visions of display 
had been brought before us, of plumed helmets, coats of 
gilded mail, kings, queens, trains, escorts, etc., that, my 
aunt indulging a little in poetical anticipations of the 
splendid scenes she was asking me to witness, I took 
my seat beside my father in his post-chariot, with some 
idea that I had grown suddenly six feet high, twenty 
years older, and was the envy of every one. My father 
had come to us for a week's holiday after my first 
transport had cooled a little. The parting with them 
all made me grave enough, and it was soon quite 
unnecessary to caution me about expressing any 
exuberance of spirits. The first disappointment in 
this dream of pleasure was the conveyance we travelled 
in. I was accustomed to the barouche and four, the 
liveried servants, and all the stir of such an equipage ; 
my father's plain post-chaise, pair of horses, and only 
one man, made no sensation along the road, neither at 
the inns nor in the villages. No one stared at so plain 
a carriage, nor was there any bustle in the inn-yards 
on our changing horses. 

Arrived in London, the large empty house in 
Lincoln's Inn Fields was intolerable, not a creature 
there but the housemaid in charge of all the displaced 


furniture, so that I wandered from one bare melancholy 
room to another in very tearful mood. In the Square 
it was no better, few of our young companions having 
remained in town none that I cared for. Aunt Lissy 
was in Norfolk, my father occupied the whole day, so 
that except at meals I never saw him. There were 
plenty of books, however, and the pianoforte, and I had 
always work with me, but it was very lonely. One new 
delight reconciled me in some measure to this dull 
week. My mother had trusted me to buy myself 
shoes, gloves, ribbons, etc., required as additions to my 
moderate equipment, and I had the satisfaction of 
purchasing these supplies myself, entering the shops in 
Fleet Street, in great state, in front of my attendant 
the housemaid, asking for what I wanted, choosing and 
paying like a grown-up young lady. I was thirteen, 
Annie's age, but how far behind what she is in some 
respects, so ignorant of all useful things, so childish, so 
affected, so bewildered at having to act for myself; all 
our wants having been hitherto supplied without any 
trouble to us. Aunt Leitch had made me a present of 
a pound note to spend as I liked without question. I 
parted with it for a parasol with a plated stick and a 
carved ivory handle and a pagoda summit, of a pea- 
green silk with a dazzling fringe, altogether big enough 
to have acted as an umbrella, and under this canopy 
I strutted away with the dignity of a peacock, to 
the amusement, I should suppose, of every one that 
passed me. 

I and my Chinese parasol were one morning in the 
Square, figuring before the nursery-maids, when an 
unusual sound yelled up from a corner of the gardens 
the Searle Street corner and a mob of dirty-looking 
men tumbled in over one another to the amount of 
hundreds. They had hardly rushed on as far as Lord 
Kenyon's high house, when from the Long Acre corner 
a troop of dragoons rattled in all haste, advancing 
towards the Surgeons' Hall, with gleaming sabres. 
The mob retreated steadily enough and slowly and 
unwillingly, but the horses moving on in their peculiar 

120 A MOB IN THE SQUARE [1810 

way, turning their hind legs to the multitude occasion- 
ally, made good their determined pressure on the 
crowd, amid yells and shouts and many hisses. But 
the dragoons prevailed, as the imposing cavalry 
advanced so did the great unwashed retire, and soon 
the whole pageant vanished, the noise even gradually 
dying away in the distance. As quickly as we could 
recover our composure, all who had been sauntering in 
the Square regained their houses. At the corner gate 
I flew to, I and my precious parasol, I found my 
father's man, Mr Sims, waiting to escort me home. 
All the windows of the two lower storeys of all the 
houses in the Square were immediately closed, and the 
housemaid and I had to mount up to the very top of 
ours, to the barred windows of the nursery, to study the 
horse-tailed helmets of our patrol. Early next morning 
I was taken to Sandy Grant's chambers in Sergeant's 
Inn, the iron gates of which retirement were kept fast 
closed till Sir Francis Burdett had left the Tower, for 
he had been the cause of all this commotion. He was 
then the perfect idol of the people, their ideal of an 
English country gentleman. He supported this 
character in breeches and top-boots, and having a fair 
handsome person and good-humoured manners, he 
remained for many a year the king of the fiddlers. 
What his crime had been on this occasion, I forget, 
some disrespect to the House of Commons, I think, for 
they ordered him into custody, and sent him to the 
Tower by water to avoid ill consequences, his friends 
being above all things excitable. On the day of his 
release they had him to themselves, and had all their 
own way, filling the streets from end to end. Never 
was there such a pack of heads wedged close together, 
like Sir Walter Scott's description of the Porteous mob. 
Every window of the long, tall row of houses on either 
side was filled with women waving handkerchiefs and 
dark blue flags, the Burdett colour. The roar of voices 
and the tread of so many feet sounded awful even in 
the enclosed court ; it penetrated to the back room 
where Mrs Sandy Grant and I were sitting. 


I was to travel to Oxford with two friends of my 
uncle Griffith, Dr and Miss Williams. They accord- 
ingly called for me in a hack post-chaise, the first I had 
ever entered, and when I found myself seated in it, 
bodkin, my feet on straw, my little trunk corded on out- 
side, the lining dirty, the windows rattling, the whole 
machine so rickety, and began to jolt along the paved 
streets with these very uninviting strangers, I could not 
help having rather melancholy regrets for Grosvenor 
Lodge, sunny as it was, my brothers and sisters and 
their merry ways, the open landau and four skimming 
over the roads, my mother's silk dresses, the well-bred 
servants, the polished luxury of home. I was indeed 
subdued, I sat quiet and silent, looking vacantly out at 
all the ugliness we travelled through. Dr Williams 
was reading a pamphlet, I am sure I wondered how he 
could keep his eyes steady on the lines ; he made 
notes from time to time with a pencil on the pages of a 
pocket-book he kept open on his knee, then he would 
lie back as if in deep thought, and begin to read and 
write again ; that was my left hand. Miss Williams 
had a squeaky voice, quite an irritant to a sensitive ear ; 
she did not speak much, which was well, but what she 
did say was very kindly meant; I daresay I was a 
great bore to her and all her bags and parcels; that 
was my right. Straight before was a Humphrey 
Clinker whipping on two much-abused horses, very 
very unlike the four bays. At last we stopped at a 
pretty country inn near a wood, where we had luncheon, 
and then we all went out to gather wild-flowers, for Dr 
Williams was a botanist and had gone this, not the 
usual, road for the purpose of collecting specimens. 
We grew much more companionable ; when he took 
my nosegay from me he seemed much pleased, he told 
me a great deal that I never forgot, showing me the 
form and the beauty of the simple flower and telling me 
what valuable qualities it sometimes lost when cultiva- 
tion rendered it more lovely to the eye. He pressed 
among the leaves of a thick packet of blotting-paper 
such flowers as he had selected from our gatherings, 


and then we resumed our journey in, I thought, a very 
much more comfortable chaise; the Doctor read less, 
the sister, though she still squeaked, talked more, and I 
chattered away very merrily. The latter part of the 
journey therefore passed pleasantly to me, while both 
answering and asking questions. A little packet of 
change with a memorandum of my share of the 
expenses was put into my hands as we were about 
entering Oxford, and in a few minutes, late in the 
evening, we stopped at my uncle's door not the grand 
door opening on one of the quadrangles, approached by 
broad steps up to great gates kept by a porter in his 
lodge, all grand as a college should be, but a back door 
in a narrow lane, letting me in to the kitchen passage, 
up a stair to the hall, and so to the kindest welcome 
from both aunt and uncle v/ho were standing there to 
receive me. I was just in time, they said, the house 
was to be full of company in a day or two, when the 
little housekeeper would find herself extremely useful. 
In the meanwhile I was introduced to all the apart- 
ments, made acquaintance with the different closets and 
their various keys, and was established myself in my 
aunt's dressing-room with a sofa bed to sleep on, and 
two drawers in her chest and my own trunk for my 
clothes, she taking charge of my balance of cash, 
remarking that it was very shabby of Dr Williams to 
have charged me with my expenses, as he must have 
had the chaise for himself and his sister at any rate, and 
he might have treated me to my luncheon, just 
eighteenpence, without any violent liberality. My 
Highland pride preferred having paid my share, but I 
said nothing, and I was silent about the balance too, 
which I knew my father had intended I should have 
kept in my own pocket; not that I wanted money, 
we had never been accustomed to have any. 

The Master's lodgings at University College formed 
two sides of a quadrangle no, not quite, one side and 
the half of another. The other half of the second side 
and the third were occupied as students' rooms; the 
fourth was the high wall of the Master's garden. It 

1810] AUNT'S COSTUMES 123 

was a large house containing a great many rooms of a 
good size, but inconveniently planned, several of them 
opening one out of another with no separate entrances 
and not proportioned properly, the whole of the one 
long side being wedge-shaped, the space twenty feet 
wide at the street end, and only ten at the garden end, 
the outer wall humouring the lane, instead of the lane 
having been made to follow the wall. The private 
apartments were on this side and very comfortable, 
though oddly shaped. There were on the other side 
two spare bedrooms with dressing-rooms for company, 
and at the head of the front staircase a nice cheerful 
room which was afterwards mine, but wanted at this 
time for Sir William Scott. Besides this great man a 
cousin Horseman arrived, and aunt Leitch and uncle 
Ralph and aunt Judy. Both ladies had been dressed 
by Miss Stewart for the occasion. Aunt Leitch always 
wore black, a Scotch fashion when a widow is no longer 
young; besides, it suited her figure, which had got 
large, and her rather high colour. She had good taste 
and looked extremely well, never wearing what did not 
become her, and choosing always what was plain and 
rich and fresh and well-fitting. A white chip bonnet 
and feathers made a great impression on me just now, 
so did a straw-coloured silk of my aunt Judy's, as she 
altered it to please herself. It was to be worn with 
handsomely embroidered white muslin gowns and a small 
cloak of like material trimmed with lace, and all the 
broad hem round lined with straw-coloured satin 
ribbon ; the shape of the bonnet was such as was worn 
at the time, rather a close cottage, if I remember, with 
a long feather laid across it very prettily. My uncle 
had chosen the whole dress and spared no expense to 
have his oddity of a little wife made to look somewhat 
like other people. The first day it was all very well, 
but the second no one would have known her ; both 
cloak and bonnet were so disfigured by the changes she 
had made in them, that their singularity and her high- 
heeled shoes for she had never yet been persuaded to 
lay her stilts aside really made us all feel for my uncle, 


who was certainly very angry, though he was prepared 
for the exhibition, she never having then nor since 
received any article of any description from any person, 
however celebrated, without altering it, if it could be 
done; her own taste being, according to her, unim- 
peachable, and all these lower natures requiring the 
finishing touch of her refinement to make her the most 
perfect object that ever vexed a sensitive husband. 

I have a much more distinct recollection of this 
affair, of nipping the sugar, setting out the desserts, 
giving out the linen, running all the messages, than I 
have of all the classic gaieties of the week, though I was 
kindly taken to all of them. In fact I fancy they had 
disappointed me, read me another lesson, for, as far as 
I remember, hope never intoxicated me again ; I never 
felt again as I had felt at Grosvenor Lodge, on the day 
of receiving my aunt's invitation. The theatre, for one 
thing, had been a shock, where I had expected to be 
charmed with a play, instead of being nearly set to 
sleep by discourses in Latin from a pulpit. There 
were some purple and some gold, some robes and some 
wigs, a great crowd and some stir at times, when a deal 
of humdrum speaking and dumb show was followed by 
the noisy demonstrations of the students as they 
applauded or condemned the honours bestowed ; but in 
the main I tired of the heat and the mob, and the worry 
of these mornings, and so, depend upon it, did poor 
Lord Grenville, who sat up in his chair of state among 
the dignitaries, like the Grand Lama in his temple 
guarded by his priests. The concerts, though, were 
delightful. There, for the first and only time in my life, 
I heard Catalani. I don't think her singing, her Rule 
Britannia, above all her " Gott safe the King," will ever 
go out of my head. She was the first Italian woman I 
had noticed, and much her large, peculiarly set eyes, 
her open forehead, pale dark complexion and vivacity 
of countenance struck me. She was very handsome. 
We had Braham, too, with his unequalled voice and fine 
bravura style, and my old acquaintance from the 
Hanover Square Rooms ; Mrs Bianchi indeed always 


went about with Catalan! to teach her her songs, the 
great singer not knowing a note of music ; indeed her 
ear was defective, it was a chance her gaining the pitch 
of the accompaniment ; if she did, all was right, for she 
kept on as she set out, so it was generally sounded for 
her by her friend, and then off she went like nobody 
else that ever succeeded her. 

Well, all this over, the company gone, the actors and 
the spectators departed, the term over, Oxford deserted, 
my regular life there began. In the morning I read 
both in French and in English to my aunt, took one 
walk a day with old Anne, who dressed herself in a 
black mode cloak that had arm-holes to let the arms 
through, and a small black bonnet, to attend upon me. 
I gave out the good things from the storeroom, some- 
times naughtily helping myself, played in the garden at 
walking like a lady with a phantom companion, to whom 
I addressed some very brilliant observations, went visit- 
ing sometimes with my aunt, and helped her to patch, 
for that favourite work still continued although the 
whole house was decorated with her labours. Borders 
of patchwork went round all the sofa and chair covers, 
and my room went by the name of the patchwork room 
because the bed and the window curtains were all 
trimmed with this bordering. My aunt kept her house 
very neat and clean, as it deserved to be kept, for my 
uncle and the college together had fitted it up hand- 
somely. The woodwork was all dark oak highly 
polished and carved. The chimney-pieces were of 
stone, of antique form, suited to a college of Alfred's (?) 
days, and then with my uncle's ingenious turn for 
nick-nackities of his own production it was filled with 
ornamental trifles, all in keeping with the grave air of 
his college residence. The walls of some rooms were 
hung with his poker-paintings, pictures burned on wood 
by hot irons ; others had his drawings framed ; the 
plants were in pots painted Etruscan ; some windows 
screened by transparencies. He was never idle, sketch- 
ing or finishing his sketches filling up any unoccupied 
time. They had three old servants, a man and two 

126 JANE'S ARRIVAL [1810 

maids, who did all the work of that large house. 
William and old Anne had lived with my uncle at his 
living of Whitchurch in his bachelor days. Nanny 
was added on his marriage, and the three remained with 
him till his death, when William was made porter to 
the college, and Anne and Nanny accompanied my 
aunt to her small house in Holywell. 

I was beginning to tire of being " burd alane," kind 
and indulgent as were my aunt and uncle, when a letter 
arrived from my mother that caused a number of 
mysterious consultations. Though I was never admitted 
to the secret tribunal in the study, I heard afterwards 
up in my aunt's boudoir most of all that had been 
discussed. The question was concerning a proposition 
made by my mother to this effect, that instead of 
reclaiming me, my sister Jane should be sent to bear 
me company. My father found it necessary to proceed 
immediately to the Highlands, and not intending to 
remain there long, it being now late in the season, he 
did not wish to encumber his party with all his children 
and a governess, for we elder ones could not well be let 
to run wild any longer ; and if our uncle Griffith would 
let us stay with him and my aunt would take the 
trouble to look a little after us, and choose us good 
masters, we were anxious enough to learn to ensure our 
making good profit of such instruction. A delay of two 
or three days resulted in an answer such as was 
expected. I had a peep of father, mother, brothers, and 
little sister, for William's holidays enabled him to travel 
with them, and then Jane and I were left by ourselves 
to make the best of it It was a great trial, this 
arrangement, to have to give up the Highlands, to be 
separated, we who were all so happy together, and 
whose hearts were in Rothiemurchus. Many a passion 
of tears our little patchwork room witnessed for the first 
week. Afterwards our young spirits revived, and we 
set ourselves to work in earnest to be busy and happy 
in our new circumstances. 


UNIVERSITY COLLEGE is said to be the most ancient of 
all the Colleges in Oxford, as may be supposed from 
King Alfred getting the credit of being its founder. 
The two quadrangles which form the principal part of 
the edifice occupy a considerable space in the High 
Street ; each quadrangle is entered through large 
arched gateways approached by flights of broad steps. 
The line of building separating the two quadrangles 
extends sufficiently behind to separate the Master's 
gardens from the Fellows'. It is appropriated to the 
kitchen offices principally. My uncle's lodgings 
forming a larger house than he required, he let some of 
the upper rooms of the side looking to the street, 
retaining on the ground-floor a dining-room, drawing- 
room and pantry, two bedrooms, with two dressing- 
closets above. The upper storey he let. The other 
side, the wedge, contained on the ground-floor the hall 
and staircase, back passage and back staircase, the 
study, and through the study the library, a very long 
room filled with old dusty books in cases all round, 
reaching from the floor to the ceiling ; most of these 
books were unreadable, being a collection of divinity 
from very ancient times, belonging to the College, and 
not of late much added to. In this room there was no 
furniture, neither curtains, nor carpet, nor fireplace ; but 
three chairs, one table, and a pianoforte were put into it 
for us, and this was our schoolroom. Through this 
library was a small room with a fireplace, used by my 


126 OUR LESSONS [1810 

uncle to heat his irons for his poker-painting ; this little 
room opened into a pretty garden, where our happiest 
hours were spent. Over this suite were the private 
apartments of my uncle and aunt, and our patchwork 
room. Above again were the servants' .rooms, storeroom, 
and lumber rooms. The kitchens were underground. 
It was all very nice, except that long melancholy library, 
which was always like a prison to us ; there was no view 
from the windows, no sun till quite late in the day, not 
an object to distract our attention from our business. 
A judicious arrangement perhaps ; we lost no time 
there certainly. Mr Vickery, the organist of Magdalen, 
taught us music, he was clever, but perfectly mad ; half 
his lesson he spent in chattering, the other half in 
dancing. So except my aunt came in, or he thought 
she was coming, we got very little instruction from him. 
Our writing master was an elderly man of the name of 
Vincent, much in the same style as our old friend Mr 
Thompson ; he, however, taught nothing beyond writing 
and arithmetic and the mending of pens, which last 
accomplishment we found about as useful an art as any 
of the many we learned. Our aunt was so kind as to 
keep us up in history, geography, French, etc., and our 
uncle, with his refined tastes and his many accomplish- 
ments, was of the utmost use to us in fixing our attention 
on wiser things than had hitherto chiefly employed us. 
For one thing, he opened to us what had been till then 
a sealed book the New Testament. He taught us to 
make its precepts a rule of life, showed us that part of 
our Saviour's mission here on earth was to be to us an 
example, and he explained the Catechism so clearly 
that we, who had always just learned it by rote every 
Sunday most grudgingly, now took pleasure in repeating 
what we understood and found was to be of use. My 
little artifices and equivocations were never passed by 
him, but they were so kindly checked, so reproved as a 
duty, that I soon disliked to pain him by employing 
them. Neither did I find such subterfuges necessary. 
No one punished me for accidental faults, nor was a 
harsh word ever addressed to me, I therefore insensibly 


lost the bad habits given by our nursery miseries. 
Truly this visit to Oxford was one of the fortunate 
chances of my life. 

My uncle was invariably good to me, but Jane was 
his favourite, honest, natural, truthful Jane. Her love of 
reading, drawing, gardening, and poetry, kept them 
constantly together, while I was more my aunt's com- 
panion. Still, we were often dull, for they were a good 
deal out at dinner with the other Heads of Houses, and 
then we had long evenings alone in the study, Anne 
popping up every now and then to look after us. We 
were allowed to make tea for ourselves, and we had tea to 
breakfast, and butter upon our bread, and a small glass 
of ale College home-brewed ale at dinner. How fat 
we got! Our regular walk was our only grievance. 
Neither my aunt nor Anne would let us run, it was not 
considered correct to run in Oxford, not even in the 
parks nor in the Christ Church meadows ; we were to 
move sedately on, arm in arm, for our arms were not 
allowed to fall naturally ; they were placed by my aunt 
in what she called a graceful position, and so they were 
to remain, and when we remonstrated and said mamma 
had never stiffened us up so, we were told that my 
mother was by no means a model of elegance, a sort of 
heresy in our ears, we being persuaded she was as near 
perfection as mortal woman could be. We were quite 
shocked to find her not appreciated. How we skipped 
upstairs for our bonnets when my uncle proposed to 
walk out with us ! No graceful arm in arm for him ! 
The moment we were out of the town, away we raced 
just as we liked, off to Joe Pullen's tree, or along the 
London roadway, round the Christ Church meadows. If 
old Anne could but have seen us ! We told her of our 
doings though, which was some satisfaction. Sometimes 
our walks with him were quieter. He took us into the 
different colleges, to show us the Hall of one, the 
stained-glass windows of another, the chapel of a third. 
He told us of the histories of the founders, with the 
dates of their times, and he gave us short sketches of 
the manners of those days, adverting to the events then 



passing, the advance of some arts since, the point at 
which a certain style of architecture, for instance, had 
stopped. We went over the Bodleian and the Radcliffe 
Libraries, and to the museum and the theatre and the 
schools, and very often we returned to the chapel 
window at New College, and the picture over the 
communion table at Magdalen Christ bearing the 
Cross supposed to be Spanish, and perhaps by 
Velasquez ; it had been taken in a ship that had sailed 
from a port in Spain. Sometimes he made us write 
little essays on different subjects in prose, and try to 
rhyme, beginning with bouts-rim^s, at which my aunt 
beat us all. I cannot say that my versifying ever did 
him or me much credit, but I poetised capitally in prose, 
while Jane strung off couplets by the hundred with very 
little trouble beyond writing them down. My uncle 
could versify by the hour. 

He had an immensity of fun in him besides this 
readiness, and was the author of many satirical 
pleasantries and political squibs called forth by the 
events of the day, some of which found their way into 
the newspapers, as 

Sir Arthur, Sir Arthur, Sir Hew and Sir Harry 
Sailed boldly from England to Spain, 

But not liking long there to tarry, 
They wisely sailed all back again. 

" Sir Arthur " was the Duke of Wellington. His 
second sailing did better. Then there was 

The city of Lisbon. 

The gold that lay in the city of Lisbon. 

which in our volume had little coloured vignettes all 
down the page, representing the subject of each new 
announcement " The Court of Enquiry," with little 
officers in regimentals seated all round a table ; the 
"Fraternal Hug" of the French ally to the poor 
overwhelmed Portuguese, etc. His caricatures were 
admirable, particularly of living characters, the like- 

1810] HIS SKETCHES 131 

nesses were so perfect. Some of these he composed on 
the common playing-cards, the hearts and diamonds 
being most humorously turned into faces, hands, furni- 
ture, etc. He began a series from Shakespeare, which 
are really fine as compositions. His graver style, whether 
in water-colours, chalks, reeds, or burnt in, are considered 
to have shown great genius, his many sketches from 
nature being particularly valuable, from their spirit and 
truthfulness. There were portfolios full of these in their 
ruder states, hundreds finished, framed, and dispersed 
among his friends. We had a great many at the Doune 
taken in Rothiemurchus, Dunkeld, and the West High- 
lands. My aunt's little boudoir was hung round with 
others. In his dining-room were more ; there were 
some at the Bodleian, and the altar-piece in his own 
College chapel Christ blessing the Bread was of his 
own poker-painting. In the museum was a head, I 
think of Leicester ; and while we were with him he was 
busy with a tiger the size of life, the colouring of the 
old oak panel and the various tints burned on it so 
perfectly suiting the tiger's skin. Jane was his great 
assistant in this work, heating the irons for him in the 
little end room, and often burning portions of the picture 
herself. A print was taken from his water-colour draw- 
ing of part of the High Street, in which his own College 
figures conspicuously. They are rare now, as he sold 
none. One was afterwards given to me, which we have 
framed and hung in our entrance hall. 

Two facts struck me, young as I was, during our 
residence at Oxford ; the ultra-Tory politics and the 
stupidity and frivolity of the society. The various 
Heads, with their respective wives, were extremely 
inferior to my uncle and aunt. More than half of the 
Doctors of Divinity were of humble origin, the sons of 
small gentry or country clergy, or even of a lower 
grade ; many of these, constant to the loves of their 
youth, brought ladies of inferior manners to grace what 
appeared to them so dignified a station. It was not a 
good style ; there was little talent and less polish and 
no sort of knowledge of the world, and yet the ignorance 


of this class was less offensive than the assumption of 
another, where a lady of high degree had fallen in love 
with her brother's tutor and got him handsomely 
provided for in the church that she might excuse herself 
for marrying him. Of the lesser clergy there were young 
witty ones, odious, and young learned ones, bores, and 
elderly ones, pompous ; all, of all grades, kind and 
hospitable. But the Christian pastor, humble and 
gentle, and considerate and self-sacrificing, occupied 
with his duties, and filled with the " charity " of his 
Master, had no representative, as far as I could see, 
among these dealers in old wines, rich dinners, fine 
china, and massive plate. The religion of Oxford 
appeared in those days to consist in honouring the king 
and his ministers, and in perpetually popping in and 
out of chapel. All the Saints' days and all the eves of 
Saints' days were kept holy, every morning and every 
evening there were prayers in every College chapel, 
lengthened on Wednesdays and Fridays by the addition 
of the Litany. My uncle attended the morning prayers 
regularly, Jane and I with him, all being roused by the 
strokes of a big hammer, beaten on every staircase half 
an hour before by a scout. In the afternoons he 
frequently omitted this duty, as the hour, six o'clock, 
interfered with the dinner-parties, the company at that 
time assembling about five. The education was suited 
to the divinity. A sort of supervision was said to be 
kept over the young riotous community, and to a 
certain extent the Proctors of the University and the 
Deans of the different Colleges did see that no very 
open scandals were committed. There were rules that 
had in a general way to be obeyed, and there were 
lectures that must be attended, but as for care to give 
high aims, provide refining amusements, give a worthy 
tone to the character of responsible beings, there was 
none ever even thought of it. The very meaning of the 
word education did not appear to be understood. The 
College was a fit sequel to the school. The young men 
herded together, they lived in their rooms, or they lived 
out of them in the neighbouring villages, where many 


had comfortable establishments. Some liked study, 
attended the lectures, and read up with their tutors, 
laughed at by the others who preferred hunting, gaming, 
supper parties, etc. The chapel-going was felt to be 
"an uncommon bore," and was shirked as much as 
possible, little matter, as no good could possibly follow 
so vain a ceremony. All sorts of contrivances were 
resorted to, to enable the dissipated to remain out at 
night, to shield a culprit, to deceive the dignitaries. It 
was a drive at random of a low and most thoughtless 
kind ; the extravagance consequent on which often 
ruined parents who had sacrificed much to give a son the 
much-prized university education. The only care the 
Heads appeared to take with regard to the young minds 
they were supposed to be placed where they were and 
paid well to help to form, was to keep the persons 
of the students at the greatest possible distance. 
They conversed with them never, invited them to their 
homes never, spoke or thought about them never. A 
perpetual bowing was their only intercourse ; a bow of 
humble respect acknowledged by one of stiff condescen- 
sion limited the intercourse of the old heads and the 
young, generally speaking. Of course there were excep- 
tional cases, and the Deans and the tutors were on more 
familiar terms with the students, but quite in the 
teacher and pupil style, very little of the anxious 
improver on one side, and the eager for knowledge on 
the other. I do not know what encouragement was given 
to the " excelsior " few, but I well remember the kind 
of punishment inflicted on the erring many, sufficient 
perhaps for the faults noticed. Too late out, not at 
chapel, noise at lecture these delinquencies doomed 
the perpetrators to an " imposition." A certain number 
of pages from a classic author transcribed, that was all, 
in a legible hand. A task that really was of some use, 
though no one would think it, for several decent young 
men belonging k to the town made a livelihood by writing 
them at so much a page. There was a settled price, 
and when the clean-looking leaves had been turned over 
by my uncle, for it was into the study of the Head 


that these mockeries had to be delivered, my aunt 
claimed them, as she found them invaluable for patch 
papers. Mr Rowley, the Dean, had drawn for her, with 
a great array of compasses, a small hexagon, which 
she had had executed in tin, and after this pattern she 
cut up all these papers, sitting between dinner and tea, 
while my uncle finished his port wine. 

Our breakfast hour was at nine o'clock ; dinner was 
at four, except on company days, when it was half an 
hour later, and such dinners ! The College cook 
dressed them. The markets were ransacked for 
luxuries, the rich contents of the cellar brought out, 
port, sherry, and madeira of vintages most prized some 
twenty years before ; beautiful plate, the best glass and 
china and table linen ; desserts of equal costliness ; big 
men in wide silk cassocks that would have'stood alone, 
scarves besides, and bands; one or two of the older 
men in powdered wigs. Sixteen the table held. The 
ladies were very fine, quite as particular about their 
fashions, and as expensive too, as the husbands were 
about the wines, very condescending too in manner to 
one another. Mr Moises used to say that the two little 
girls in white frocks were the only live creatures that 
looked real amongst them all. It was certainly an 
unnaturally constrained life that these people passed at 
Oxford. To us the dulness was intolerable ; we were 
often oppressed by it even to tears, as our pillows and 
a large red mulberry tree in the garden could have 
testified, for to the garden we generally repaired to 
recover from these occasional fits of melancholy and to 
read over and over again our mother's letters from the 

We were one sunny afternoon sitting under the 
mulberry tree, tired with searching on the grass round 
its trunk for the fine ripe fruit which had fallen thickly 
there, and which, after all, we thought, came next to 
guignes, when a window at that side of the quadrangle 
to which the College kitchens were attached opened, 
and a curly head was thrust out, to which belonged 
very bright eyes and very blooming cheeks, and a 


mouth wide opened by laughter. It was an upper 
window belonging to a suite of rooms let to the students. 
" Little girl," said the head, " how do you sell your 
mulberries?" "They are not ours, sir," said Jane 
she was always the spokeswoman " we cannot sell 
them." " You can only eat them, eh ? " said the head 
again, and many voices from behind joined in the 
laughter. " Jane," said I, " don't go on talking to that 
young man, my aunt would not like it." " Nonsense," 
said Jane, " where's the harm of answering a question ? " 
" Well, little girls, won't you sell me some mulberries ? 
I'll give you a tune on the French horn for them." 
And thereupon our new acquaintance began to play, 
we thought beautifully, upon an instrument that we 
thought charming. " A basket full of mulberries for a 
tune, eh? My aunt won't be angry." A basket with 
a string to it dangled from the window. But we were 
firm ; we refused to fill it. And because we were such 
very good, honest little girls, we had a great many 
tunes on the French horn played to us for nothing, till 
I, who was always a coward, coaxed Jane away. It was 
getting near the dinner hour. My uncle's man William, 
regularly as old Anne began to dish, crossed the garden 
to the private door of the buttery, where he went daily 
for ale. We thought it best, therefore, to retire from 
this first interview with our musical acquaintance, 
although we were not sufficiently modest to avoid the 
chances of succeeding ones. Indeed that corner of the 
garden was so shady, so out of the way of my aunt's 
windows and so near the mulberry tree, that we 
naturally preferred to amuse ourselves there ; the head 
and the horn as naturally continued to appear, till at 
length we grew so friendly as to take their acquaint- 
ances into the alliance, and we found ourselves chatting 
and laughing merrily with about a dozen commoners. 

" Pray, Mr Rowley," said my uncle the Master one 
day to the Dean, "who plays the French horn here 
in College? No very studious young gentleman, I 
should think." " Mr So-and-So," said Mr Rowley. (Is 
it not strange that I should have completely forgotten 


our friend's name ?) " He is no bad performer, I 
believe, and a very quiet young man," etc. etc. We 
were crimson, we bent over our work in very shame, 
certain that our highly improper flirtation had been 
discovered, and that this conversation was meant as a 
hint for us to behave ourselves. I daresay neither my 
uncle nor Mr Rowley had the least notion of our 
musical propensities, and were only mentioning a 
simple fact, but conscience terrified us too much to 
allow of our ever haunting the buttery steps again. 

This recreation being at an end, we began another. 
My aunt obliged us to darn our stockings every week 
when they came from the washing, up in our own room. 
That is, obliged me to darn them, for Jane couldn't 
work and wouldn't work, the only specimen of her 
abilities in this feminine accomplishment during our 
Oxford visit being the rather singular piece of patch- 
work which always stays on the chimney-piece in my 
room, and which I use as a kettle-holder. She read to 
me while I worked, and this made the time pass more 
pleasantly. My uncle's lodgings, as I have mentioned, 
occupied two sides of the square of buildings forming 
the inner quadrangle. Our room was close to the 
corner, at right angles with the spare apartments he 
had let for college rooms. The nearest set to us was 
occupied by a Mr Coxe, a very tall young man from 
Yorkshire, with a remarkably loud voice, as we knew 
by the tone in which it was his habit to read aloud, for 
the weather being warm and the windows open, we 
could hear him distinctly spouting from book or from 
memory as he paced up and down his study. We could 
see him too, for we were very close neighbours, when 
either he or we looked out of our casements, and as he 
acted the parts he was speaking with much emphasis, 
I found it much more amusing to watch Mr Coxe's 
antics than to fill up the great holes Jane thumped out 
in the heels of her stockings. Down therefore went my 
hands, and forward stretched my neck, intent as I was 
on the scene enacting, when Mr Coxe, finding himself 
noticed, so increased the force with which he ranted, 

1810] A FOX HUNT 137 

that I could not contain my laughter. At this he 
humbly bowed, his hand upon his heart. I laughed the 
more. He shook his head ; he clasped his hands ; he 
threw his arms here and there, starting, stamping, and 
always roaring. In short, the pantomime proceeded 
with vigour to a most amusing height before Jane, who 
was sitting below me faithfully reading through the 
pages of the Spectator, perceived what was going on. 
Some one else must have perceived it too, probably Mr 
Rowley, who was always prowling about, for though 
neither he, nor my uncle, nor my aunt ever mentioned 
the subject to us, muslin blinds were fastened to our 
windows next day, which we were on no account to 
displace, and we were ordered in future to take all our 
mendings down to that horrid and most melancholy 
library, where my aunt said that we were more within 
her reach should she want us. Mr Coxe was really 
very diverting, I regretted losing his theatricals 

The young men had a hundred ways of amusing 
themselves, quite independent of the Master's childish 
nieces. Mr Rowley having made himself disagreeable 
to some of his pupils who found it suit their health to 
take long rides in the country, they all turned out one 
night to hunt the fox under his window. A Mr Fox, 
in a red waistcoat and some kind of a skin for a cap, 
was let loose on the grass in the middle of the 
quadrangle, with the whole pack of his fellow-students 
barking around him. There were cracking whips, 
shrill whistles, loud halloos, and louder hark-aways, 
quite enough to frighten the dignitaries. When those 
great persons assembled to encounter this confusion, 
all concerned skipped off up the different staircases, like 
so many rats to their holes, and I don't believe any of 
them were ever regularly discovered, though suspected 
individuals were warned as to the future. Mr Fox, I 
remember, was found quietly reading in his room, 
undisturbed by all the tumult, although a little flurried 
by the authoritative knocks which forced him, at that 
hour of the night, to unlock his door ! My uncle was 


very mild in his rule; yet there were circumstances 
which roused the indignation of the quietest colleges. 

The ringleader in every species of mischief within 
our grave walls was Mr Shelley, afterwards so cele- 
brated, though I should think to the end half-crazy. 
He began his career by every kind of wild prank at 
Eton, and when kindly remonstrated with by his tutor, 
repaid the well-meant private admonition by spilling 
an acid over the carpet of that gentleman's study, a 
new purchase, which he thus completely destroyed. 
He did no deed so mischievous at University, but he 
was very insubordinate, always infringing some rule, 
the breaking of which he knew could not be overlooked. 
He was slovenly in his dress, and when spoken to 
about these and other irregularities, he was in the 
habit of making such extraordinary gestures, expres- 
sive of his humility under reproof, as to overset first the 
gravity, and then the temper, of the lecturing tutor. 
Of course these scenes reached unpleasant lengths, 
and when he proceeded so far as to paste up atheistical 
squibs on the chapel doors, it was considered necessary 
to expel him, privately, out of regard for Sir Timothy 
Shelley, the father, who, being written to concerning 
his wayward son, arrived in much anxiety, had a long 
conference with my uncle in the study, to which 
presently both the young man and Mr Rowley were 
admitted, and then Sir Timothy and his son left Oxford 
together. Quiet was restored to our sober walls after 
this disturber of its peace had been got rid of, although 
some suspicious circumstances connected with the 
welfare of a principal favourite of my aunt's still 
required to be elucidated, as Mr Rowley said, and at 
once checked. 

Our inner quadrangle had buildings on only three 
of its sides, the fourth side was a wall, a high wall, the 
wall of the Master's garden. The centre part of this 
wall was raised a few feet higher than the lengths on 
either hand, carved in a sort of scroll. Against this 
more elevated portion on the garden side was trained a 
fruit-tree, a baking pear, very old and very sturdy, 


with great branching arms spread regularly at equal 
distances from bottom to top, a perfect step-ladder! 
The defences of the garden on the stable side next the 
lane were of no moment, very easily surmounted, and 
the vigilant eyes of Mr Rowley had discovered, on the 
College side of the high pear-tree wall, certain indica- 
tions of the pear-tree's use to those tenants, steady or 
unsteady, who returned from their rambles later than 
suited the books of the porter's lodge. The pear-tree 
must come down, beautifully as it was trained, splendid 
as the fruit was large brown pears on which my aunt 
reckoned for her second course dishes. The wall, too, 
looked so bare without it. My aunt never thoroughly 
forgave Mr Rowley for this extreme of discipline, and, 
like Mr Balquhidder's cow, the pears grew so in size 
and flavour, and the tree became so wonderfully fruitful 
after its decease, that my uncle, after enduring a fair 
allowance of lamentations for it, had to forbid the 
subject. I have often thought since when on my hobby 
as my brother John calls my educating mania that 
if we were to make wise matters more lovable, young 
ardent spirits would not waste the activity natural to 
their age on follies. Too much work we hardly any 
of us have, but work too dry, work too absorbing, work 
unsuitable, is the work cut out for and screwed on to 
every young mind of every nature that falls under the 
iron rule of school or college. Learning is such a 
delight, there must be some error in the teaching when 
the scholars shirk it and debase themselves to merely 
sensual pleasures, of a low order too, drinking, gamb- 
ling, and the like pursuits, which caused the destruction 
of the pear-tree. 

I am setting down all my Oxford experiences 
together, without regard to vacation or term time, an 
unclassical proceeding, which, if I had thought about it, 
I would not have done. The long vacation began soon 
after the Commemoration was over in July, and lasted 
till October, and though some reading men remained 
to study, and some of the Fellows came and went, 
Oxford was empty for the time of all the hubbub I had 


gone to form a part of till close upon Gaudy day. My 
uncle and aunt, however, remained there till the month 
of September, when they went to Cheltenham for a few 
weeks on account of my uncle's health, and took us 
with them. William, the man-servant, attended us, 
but neither of the maids ; we were to wait on our aunt 
and on each other. Our lodgings were small but very 
neat, as every lodging was at Cheltenham. We had a 
good drawing-room and small dining-room over a 
cabinetmaker's shop, and bedrooms above. We were 
just opposite to a chemist's, beside whose house was the 
paved alley which led past the old church to the walk 
up to the old Wells at the end of the avenue. We all 
drank the waters and we all ate famous breakfasts 
afterwards, and Jane and I, out most of the day with 
my uncle, were so happy wandering about the outskirts 
of what was then only a pretty village, that we much 
regretted remaining here so short a time. My aunt, 
who walked less, and who could patch away anywhere, 
preferred, of course, her comfortable home, for she had 
found few acquaintances in Cheltenham ; only old Mrs 
Colonel Ironside, the widow of the Indian cousin in 
whose gay London house she had spent such happy 
times in her young days, and Admiral Ricketts, Mrs 
Ironside's nephew, with his kind Irish wife. We saw 
very little of any of them ; I fancy morning calls had 
been the extent of the civilities. What I recollect of 
Cheltenham is the beautiful scenery. The long turning 
High Street, the rich well-wooded plain the town was 
settled in, the boundary of low hills, Malvern in the 
distance, and that charming Well walk, always shady, 
where we were told the King and Queen had appeared 
by seven o'clock in the morning, when His Majesty 
King George the Third had been ordered by his 
physicians to try the waters. Half a lifetime after- 
wards, when I returned married from India and 
revisited this pretty place, I remembered it all as it had 
been, even found my way about it, though so altered, 
and I must say I regretted that the lovely rural village 
had grown into a large town, beautiful still with its 

1810-11] OXFORD SOCIETY 141 

hundreds of handsome villas and long streets of 
excellent houses, but not half so pleasing to me as it 
was in the " olden time." I hear now that they have 
cut down the fine avenue that shaded the old Well 
walk, built rows of shops from the Crescent up to the 
old pump-room, and that the town extends through the 
fields beyond. The children of these times will be tired 
before getting to their country walks. Jane and I had 
green fields to run in. 

On returning to Oxford we all resumed our graver 
habits. Jane and I had that odious library and our 
masters ; my uncle and aunt the duties of society. All 
the great people having reassembled, they had all to 
interchange their calls and then to invite one another 
to dinner. In the evenings sometimes there were routs 
thirty or forty people to tea and cards, refreshments 
handed round before separating. Jane and I were 
spared appearing at the desserts ; we were found in the 
drawing-room by the ladies, dressed in the fine muslin 
frocks bought for the Persian ambassador, with the 
gold chains and the cairngorm crosses, of course ; we sat 
up as late as the company stayed, and were much 
noticed ; luckily the home parties were not many. 
The ladies were really all so commonplace, they made 
little impression. The Principal of Jesus College, Dr 
Hughes, a most huge mountain of a Welshman, was 
our particular favourite among the gentlemen, I believe 
because he let each of us sit in the large silver punch- 
bowl belonging to his Headship. It held Jane easily. 
Dr Williams never got into my good graces, nor Mr 
Rowley, he was such a little ugly and very pompous 
man. Mr Moises we were very fond of. A particular 
friend of my uncle's, the son of that Newcastle school- 
master who educated Lord Eldon and Lord Stowell, 
Mr Collins, then rather a beau, was another great ally 
of ours. They were all clergymen, as were most of the 
travellers who paid passing visits. Lord Eldon never 
happened to come to my uncle's when I was there, 
though they were so intimate as to correspond. Lord 
Chancellors have not much time for travelling ; besides, 


the King was in very uncertain health just then, giving 
everybody about him a good deal of uneasiness. Lord 
Stowell, then Sir William Scott, was often with us, and 
a very agreeable old man he was. 

What strange women those two clever brothers 
married ! Lady Eldon's was a runaway affair and she 
had not a penny, but she was very beautiful, and to 
the last hour of her life retained her husband's affec- 
tions, in spite of her eccentricities. Latterly she was 
never seen but by him. She lived up in her own rooms 
dressed in a hat and habit, and was called too much of 
an invalid to see visitors. But she got up to make his 
breakfast every morning, however early he required it, 
as she had done from the day of their marriage ; 
nothing ever prevented this but her two or three con- 
finements; on other occasions, when indisposed with 
colds or headaches, she still waited on him, and 
returned to bed when he went off to court or chambers. 
She never learned that they were rich. When he was 
making thousands at the bar, and later when his official 
salary was so large, she continued the careful manage- 
ment of their early struggling days, locking up stores 
and looking after remains, and herself counting the 
coal-sacks, making the carters hold up the bags and 
shake them as they were emptied into the cellars, she 
standing at the window of her lord's handsome house 
in her hat and habit, giving a little nod as each empty 
sack was laid upon the pavement 

Lady Scott was still more thrifty, at least we heard 
a great many more stories concerning her oddities. 
She had money and no beauty ; and if there ever had 
been any love it did not last long, for they were little 
together. He was said to be miserly too, but he was 
not miserable. She grudged him his clean shirt daily, 
and used to take a day's wear out of the cast one herself, 
putting it on instead of a bed-gown, thereby saving 
that article in her own wardrobe. Then she allowed 
him but one towel a week, and Mr Collins had a story 
of her, that on closing a visit to a friend of his, she 
entered her hostess's presence before taking leave, laden 

1811] GREAT TOM 143 

with a pile of towels, which she thought it her duty to 
bring to view, in order to expose the extravagance of 
the servants who had supplied them so profusely, 
priding herself on having used but; two, one for herself 
and one for Sir William 1 There were tales of her 
serving up chickens reheated, and having wings and 
legs of some fictitious kind skewered on in place of the 
real ones which ,had been eaten; of a leg of mutton 
doing duty all the week ; of her cutting a turkey in two 
when she found her son dined out, and on his returning 
unexpectedly, sewing the turkey up again. Mr Collins 
and Mr Moises, both north-countrymen, used to keep 
us laughing by the hour at all the oddities they told of 
her. She died at last, but long after this, and he made 
a second unlucky venture. Old Lady Sligo, the 
dowager of her day, was a worse wife than this first one. 
Why they married at their advanced age no one could 
fancy. She was near seventy, and he was past it. He 
had both a son and a daughter, the daughter very 
agreeable. She was often at Oxford as Mrs Townsend, 
and occasionally after becoming Lady Sidmouth; and 
as she had been at school with aunt Lissy, we imputed 
this also as a merit to her. 

We remained at Oxford until the spring of'iSn. 
It was in the month of March that my father and 
mother arrived from Scotland for us. Whether my 
father travelled with his own horses this time I forget. 
I daresay he did, and had kept them all four and the 
coachman all this time at the hotel in Edinburgh. He 
did not hurry away as was his usual habit everywhere, 
he stayed a few days to show the beauties of Oxford to 
Miss Balfour. Amongst other sights they went to see 
Great Tom, which I had no mind to do ; hearing him 
every night booming so grandly over the quiet around 
quite satisfied me, for the sound was very fine, coming 
in too just after the little " merry, merry Christ Church 
bells." Jane, who was of an inquisitive turn, decided 
upon mounting up all :those long stairs fin order to 
understand the real size of the monster. Once up, she 
would go in and under it, and remain in it just to hear 

144 JANE'S ACCIDENT [1811 

one toll. Poor child ! she dropped as if shot, was 
carried out into the air, brought home still senseless, 
laid in bed, Dr Williams sent for, the whole house in 
despair. Doctor Williams recommended her being left 
to nature, he apprehended no danger ; the nerves had 
received a shock and they must be left to recover, and 
they did recover. She wakened next morning as if she 
had merely had a good night's sleep, recollecting 
nothing, however, beyond her last-expressed wish to 
see the great tongue moved by the men who pulled it 
with a rope, so very differently from the ringing of the 
other bells. 

We were sorry to leave our kind uncle and aunt, 
but we were not sorry to resume the freedom of our 
home life, after the restraint in fashion at University. 
We found the house in Lincoln's Inn Fields in great 
order, which was strange, considering that the servants 
had had nothing to do but to clean it up for months 
back. A great pleasure was preparing for us. Annie 
Grant came to live with us, and as the changes 
consequent upon this agreeable addition to our home- 
party had much influence over the well-being of the 
younger members of the family, I will make a pause in 
this particular era draw one of the long strokes between 
this and more trifling days, and begin again after this 


ANNIE GRANT was the " accidental " daughter to use 
a very delicate expression a very refined lady once 
used to me, when compelled to employ some term of 
this sort of old Colonel William Grant with the long 
queue, my father's half great-uncle, my great-grand- 
uncle, who had long lived at the Croft. The first time 
my mother saw her she was herding some cows in the 
Lochan Mor (a boggyswamp, afterwards drained by Mr 
Cameron), standing beneath the shelter of a high bank 
of hanging birch, no shoes upon her feet nor hat upon 
her head, her knitting in her hands, her short dark 
petticoat, white jacket, and braided snooded hair 
combining to present a perfect model of Highland 

beauty. I wonder if Mrs General N when the 

great lady at Cawnpore, the most favoured guest at 
Newstead Abbey, the honoured of Kensington Palace, 
where more than once fshe dined with the Duke of 
Sussex did she ever wander back in thought to the 
days of her simple youth ? In those early days she was 
not taught to expect much notice, neither did she receive 
much; her mother was her father's housekeeper, and 
brought up her children, Annie and her brother Peter, 
in her own station, sending them to the parish school, 
and never obtruding them or herself on any of "the 
family." After the old Colonel's death she, still a very 
beautiful woman, married his grieve, and went to settle 
in another part of the country. The Colonel had 
been married in middle life to an Irishwoman, a Mrs 



Dashwood ; they had never had any children, so he left 
his savings these Highlanders have always savings 
to Annie and her brother, some 2000 or better. My 
father as head of the house was their guardian. Peter 
was sent to a better school. Annie was taken by 
Captain Lewis Grant and his odd wife to keep the keys 
of their small establishment, an office regularly filled in 
every household then by such stray maidens of the 
race as were in want of a home. When Mrs Grant died 
the Lady Logic took charge of Annie, who seemed 
never to be lost sight of among her kith and kin, 
however irregularly she had arrived among them. The 
Lady Logic "had her to school" iat Forres, where 
she received a good plain education, and as much 
instruction in music as, assisted by the ear of her race, 
enabled her to play the airs of her own country, grave 
and lively, with an expression very delightful. On the 
death of the Lady Logic (my father's aunt) it was 
determined the poor girl should earn a home for 
herself. She was accordingly brought to London to our 
house, and after being a few weeks with us she was 
bound apprentice to the Miss Stewarts, the celebrated 
dressmakers. Maybe, in their workroom, she well 
remembered her free hours in the Lochan Mor. For 
her own happiness, herself and her little fortune would 
probably have been better bestowed on some young 
farmer in her native north, but this was an age 
of unnatural notions ; accomplished girls, portionless 
and homeless, were made into governesses, and for the 
less instructed there was nothing dreamed of but the 
dressmaking, a trade never over-stocked, its victims 
dying off quite as quickly as the vacant places were 
demanded. For some years all went smoothly. Annie 
was a favourite, and never overworked except at special 
busy times. Every Sunday while we were in town she 
spent with us, often coming to us on the Saturday. 
Every summer she had her holiday, which all of us 
enjoyed as much as she did, for not only we, but all 
who came to our house, were fond of her. At length 
came the time when the two old Miss Stewarts were to 


resign the business, as had been agreed on, to Annie 
Grant 'and Jessie Stewart, on terms which had been 
previously settled. A word of dissatisfaction had never 
been uttered on their part, till out came the astounding 
news that they had sold their house and business more 
advantageously. Jessie Stewart had no refuge but the 
arms of a lover, to whom through many years of poverty 
she made the most exemplary wife, bearing severe trials 
with patience and afterwards an exalted position meekly. 
Her husband has long been a leading man, living in the 
best society. 

Annie Grant was received by my father and mother, 
I may say, gladly, for they had begun to grudge her to 
needle and thread. Very early (for her) one morning 
my mother drove to Albemarle Street, and brought 
back a great blessing to our home. Without, as far as 
we knew, any regular arrangement, Annie Grant slid 
somehow into the charge of us. She took lessons with 
all our masters, was so attentive while with them, so 
diligent in working for them, so anxious to improve, 
that we caught her spirit. There was no more idling in 
our dining-room; when the prescribed lessons were 
over other occupations started up; she and I read 
history together daily, Goldsmith, Robertson, Rollin. 
We also had Shakespeare given to us, and some good 
novels, all Miss Edgeworth's Fashionable Tales ; and 
we walked a great deal, sometimes taking the carriage 
to the Green Park or Kensington Gardens, and taking a 
turn there. We were really busy, and so happy, for 
Annie's gentle, steady rule was just what we all wanted ; 
she soothed me, encouraged Jane, and coaxed Mary. 
Her great art was removing from us all that was 
irritating; we had no occasion to "set up our backs." 
We actually forgot to feel angry. Upon the phreno- 
logical system of influences, could we have been under 
better ? Had she been carefully trained in physiological 
principles she could not have acted more wisely than her 
mere kindly nature prompted. In the matter of our 
breakfast she gained for us quite a victory, persuading 
my mother that now she had no cow in the stable weak 


tea was cheaper than milk, and a small bit of butter 
good for the chest, so that we began our day so pleasantly 
all went smoothly on. In the evenings we reeled away 
for an hour to her spirited strathspeys, the big people 
often joining the little, and turning with us to magic 
music and other games before confined to our own more 
particular sphere. Everybody seemed happier since 
Annie lived with us. My spirits were at times quite 
flighty, nothing ever sobered them down to usefulness 
except the kind reproving glance of Annie Grant. She, 
however, failed with Mary ; the stupidity of that strange 
heavy child had hitherto rendered every attempt to 
rouse her vain. She was eight years old, and she could 
not read, she would not try to count, writing she did on 
a slate in her own way, but not in the least in Mr 
Thompson's. She even romped listlessly, would not 
dance, liked sitting quiet with her doll cutting up cakes 
and apples into dinners for it. When she washed the 
old block of wood without arms or legs which she 
preferred to any wax baby, she seldom dried and never 
dressed it, but called to me to render these services ; 
and if I were out of the way would roll a pinafore 
round the beauty and be content. She was tall, 
large, and fair, as big nearly as Jane, and looked 
as old. I was excessively fond of her; so was my 

My mother was very ill again this spring, confined 
for many weeks to her room, and then ordered off to 
the seaside as soon as she had recovered strength 
enough for the long journey to the coast. Those were 
not railroad days. To prepare her for her travels she 
took constant evening drives with us, getting out 
beyond Southwark, beyond the parks, towards Epping, 
etc., occasionally making a day of it to Kew, Richmond, 
and even Windsor. I had once been at Windsor 
before to see William, as I have, I think, mentioned, 
when we went to Eton Chapel, and afterwards met 
the King and Queen and the band of the Blues upon 
the Terrace. We did some of this again, went to 
the King's private chapel and saw him say his prayers 

1811] DAYS AT WINDSOR 149 

in his little bob wig, his short wife in a black silk cloak 
and plain straw bonnet beside him. We also this time 
saw the castle thoroughly, private apartments and all, 
for the Queen and the Princesses had gone for the 
day to Frogmore. My father's tenant at Thorley Hall 
was a Mr John Vowles, who had a brother William 
a cornfactor at Windsor ; they were of German extrac- 
tion, in some way connected with some of the personal 
attendants of the Queen. Mrs William Vowles, indeed, 
was a German born, and had been brought up by her 
parents in the Palace ; she had been educated and 
portioned by Her Majesty, and had not been thrown 
off on her marriage. She it was who took us up the 
back-stairs and showed us through most of the rooms 
in common use by the family, when for the first time 
my mind wakened up to the fact that real kings and 
queens were not like the royalties of fairy tales, always 
seated upon thrones receiving homage and dispensing 
life and death, but quiet, simple, actively-industrious 
human beings. I could have made myself quite at 
home in Queen Charlotte's bedroom, and should have 
made myself very comfortable in the business-like 
morning-room occupied by herself and her daughters. 
Books, music, painting, works plain and fine, filled the 
apartment in which were but two easy-chairs, each 
with a small table beside it ; these were for " Mr and 
Mrs Guelph," as they called themselves in the happy 
privacy of their family. Another time that we were 
at Windsor we dined early with Mr and Mrs Vowles, 
and went over to Frogmore in the evening the 
Queen's hobby, her garden-house. It was a pretty 
villa in pretty grounds, too low for health, I should 
say, were people to have lived there, at least till the 
mere or pond was drained, but it did perfectly for the 
royal amusement by day. The walls of one room 
were painted by one Princess ; all cabinets and tables 
of another were japanned by a second ; carpets, stools, 
and rugs were the work of a third ; while the knitting, 
knotting, and netting of the old Queen, if she did it all 
herself, must have ensured her a busy life. 


By the middle of July my mother was able to be 
removed to Ramsgate, where she very soon recovered 
her looks and health ; she was very fond of the sea, 
and throve near it. Mrs Peter Grant had taken a 
house for us on the East Cliff, a very fine situation 
with a splendid sea-view. We were at some distance 
from the town, a sort of common all round us, and one 
house only near; it was indeed attached to ours, the 
two stood together alone, out of the way of all the rest 
of Ramsgate. Our neighbour was Lady Augusta 
Murray, called by her friends the Duchess of Sussex, 
although her marriage to the Duke, which really did 
take place abroad, was null in this country. She had 
been created Baroness D'Ameland, and had a pension 
settled on her of 3000 a year, on which to bring up 
her two children, a boy and a girl, fine, large, handsome 
young people, unduly imbued with the grandeur of 
their birth. She never committed herself by calling 
herself or them by any title : " My boy, my girl," she 
always said in speaking of or to them. The servants, 
however, mentioned them as the Prince and Princess, 
as did all the acquaintances who visited at the house. 
Prince Augustus was about seventeen, extremely good- 
looking, though rather inclined to be stout ; very good- 
natured he was too, amiable and devoted to his mother. 
He was going into the army under the name of D'Este, 
a bitter pill to the Duchess, although it was one of the 
royal surnames, and had been chosen for his son by 
the Duke himself. Princess Augusta was some years 
younger than her brother. She was but twelve, and 
particularly handsome on a large scale, a fine figure, 
and fine features, with a charming expression of 
countenance. The Duchess's house was small, though 
larger than ours, for she had turned the whole ground 
floor into one room, a library, and built a large dining- 
room out behind. The drawing-room floor was her 
own apartment, containing bedroom, sitting-room, and 
her maid's room ; the floor above was equally divided 
between her son and daughter. She kept no horses, 
for she never drove out. She passed most of her time 


in a very large garden, well walled in, which covered 
a couple of acres or more, and extended all down the 
slope of the cliff to the town. Our two families soon 
became intimate, the younger ones especially passing 
the greater part of the day together, a friendship which 
never entirely ceased while opportunity served to bring 
any of us together. The advances, however, were 
amusing. The Duchess, as a royal personage, must 
be waited on. My mother, who was very retiring, 
would not take such a step forward as the leaving her 
name at the great lady's door. My father, who had 
bowed, and been spoken to when gallantly opening 
gates, could do no more without his wife ; so all came 
to a full stop. Meanwhile, Jane and J, who had made 
acquaintance out on the free common of the downs 
with the little Princess, untroubled by any notions 
of etiquette, enjoyed our intercourse with our new 
acquaintance amazingly ; Jane and she soon becoming 
fast friends. One evening she approached the paling 
which separated our two gardens just as my mother 
was stepping over the gravel towards the carriage to 
take an airing. I shall never forget the picture ; she 
leaned on the top rail, her large-leaved Tuscan hat 
thrown back off her dark close-cropped hair, and her 
fine countenance brightened by the blush of girlish 
modesty, while she held up a small basket full of fine 
peaches, an offering from her mother. A visit of 
thanks was of course necessary, and found agreeable. 
A few days after the Duchess bade Jane tell her 
mamma that she had returned her call when her 
mamma was unluckily out, and that she hoped they 
would be good neighbours. On this hint we all acted. 
My mother occasionally went in there with some of us, 
my father constantly, indeed he soon became her 
confidential adviser in many of her difficulties, trying 
to get her through some of the trials which harassed 
her existence. We were all made very happy by this 
addition to our Ramsgate pleasures; we liked the 
place itself and our life there, and above all we liked 
our neighbours. 


We all breakfasted together, then studied for three 
hours, dined early with my father and 'mother, and 
drank tea with them late. In the intervals we were 
either next door, or on the downs, or on the sands. 
Annie and I used to take books down to the sands 
and sit on the rocks with them in our hands, but we 
never read ; watching the waves, listening to them, 
looking at the crab-hunters and the shrimpers, and far 
out at sea straining our eyes after the shipping, little 
boats, larger craft, huge merchantmen, all moving over 
the face of the waters, and the downs in the distance- 
all this was book enough. Mary and Johnnie were 
often with us, and sometimes my mother, who, how- 
ever, rather objected to such idling j and as Jane was 
almost always with the Princess, quite as great a 
favourite with the Duchess as with her daughter, a 
plan was struck out for the better employment of my 
time, which was immediately acted on. Mrs Peter 
Grant, the widow of one of my great-uncle Sandy's 
sons, who had had charge of Anne Grant of Glen- 
moriston, and lived in a small house at Ramsgate, 
had been found so competent to the task of super- 
intending the education of young ladies, that she had 
been prevailed on by first one friend and then another 
to receive their delicate children. At last her family 
became too large for her small house. She took a 
larger one in Albion Place, engaged a clever governess, 
to whom she was shortly obliged to give an assistant, 
and had soon a flourishing school. She limited the 
number of pupils to eighteen, and generally had 
applications waiting for a vacancy. 

To Mrs Peter Grant's school I was to be sent every 
day for so many hours, ostensibly to learn flower-paint- 
ing, and be kept up in French and singing; but in 
reality to take down a good deal of conceit which 
unavoidably sprang up in the quick mind of a girl who 
had not the means of fairly testing her abilities by an 
equal standard. Jane was so much younger, and 
naturally so slow, her attempts in all our occupations 
were of course inferior to mine, and as we had no 


companions except at play-hours, I could not find out 
that, clever as I thought myself, there were girls of my 
own age very much more advanced. This I learned 
very quickly at Albion Place, where three or four of my 
new friends were very much beyond me. 

While at Ramsgate we were introduced to Colonel 
and Mrs Glossipp from Canterbury, he a fine soldierly- 
looking man, she a plain woman, but so nice, kind, 
gentle, merry, clever, quite a soldier's wife. She had 
four healthy, happy boys, and three gowns, a " heightem, 
a tightem, and a scrub," with which she perambulated 
the world, none of the wardrobe department likely to 
be hurt by her travels if we were to judge of the inferior 
degrees by a comparison with the " heightem," the one 
always exhibited at Ramsgate. But no matter what 
Mrs Glossipp wore she always looked like a lady, and 
she was so lively and agreeable it was always a white 
day when the Colonel's dog-cart drove up to the door 
of our small house on Albion Cliff. Mrs Glossipp was 
full of fun, and to please her a party was made, includ- 
ing the handsome Miss B,, to attend a ball at Margate, 
at that time the summer retreat of all the city of 
London, and holding more wealth than any place out 
of it. Miss Louisa B. was quite wrong in carrying her 
pink cotton satin, though covered with muslin of her 
own embroidery, to such an assemblage as she found 
there. Lace dresses and lace flounces of fabulous value 
fluttered all round the room. Velvets and satins, 
feathers and jewels ! such jewels as would have graced 
the Queen's drawing-room were in profusion. Large, 
fat, dowager Aldermanesses, with a fortune in Mechlin 
and diamonds on them, sat playing cards with tumblers 
of brandy and water beside them ; the language used 
possessed a grammar of its own; the dancing was 
equally original, a Miss St George, the belle of the ball 
and six feet high, cutting capers up to the moon. The 
extravagances of this "fashionable" resort formed one 
of the sights to be seen from aristocratic Ramsgate. 
How different now! That race of civic dignitaries 
sleeps with its fathers. It would be hard to know the 


tradesman from the noble now, at a glance at any rate. 
My father said the finery of the Margate ladies had 
excited my mother's envy, for she set about smuggling 
vigorously at this time, very much to his annoyance; 
bargain-making and smuggling were his aversion. He 
always said, " What is wanted get of the best quality at 
the best place, and take care of it. What is not wanted, 
don't get, however cheap ; it is wasting money, in fact 
real extravagance ; and have nothing to do with 
rogues." Wise preaching 'tis so easy for the man who 
lavishes thousands on his whistle, to lift his eyebrows at 
the cost of his wife's. My dear mother found it hard to 
resist those melodramatic sailors with their straw hats 
smartly bound with ribbon, the long curled love-lock 
then generally worn by the more dashing among the 
seamen, the rough, ready, obligingly awkward manner, 
and all their silks, laces, gloves, and other beautiful 
French goods so immeasurably superior to any in those 
days fabricated at home. She was not to be deterred 
by the seizures now and then made of all these 
treasures, miles and miles away ; carriages stopped and 
emptied, ladies insulted, fined, and so on, as really 
frequently happened when their transactions were too 
daring. She could not resist a few purchases, though 
half believing my father's assertion that the smugglers 
were all in league with the Custom-house authorities, 
themselves giving information of any considerable 
purchaser. However, her doings were never thus 
brought to light. 

Meanwhile, we young people had our occupations. 
The Duchess of Sussex, to amuse herself, got up the 
tragedy of Macbeth. She was a Scotchwoman, one of 
the Dunmore Murrays, and very national ; she was, 
besides, intellectual and intelligent, as all her pursuits 
evidenced, and she was very proud of the beauty of her 
daughter. It was all to be amongst ourselves, we four, 
the little Princess, and two quiet little girls sometimes 
our companions, whose father lived in Ramsgate and 
was the Duchess's man of business. We all therefore 
" played many parts," which necessity we considered a 


pleasure, as it kept us in one character or another 
continually on the stage. During the preparations we 
were incessantly rehearsing either at one house or the 
other, each, for the benefit of the rest, learning the 
whole play ; thus impressing on our young memories, 
never to be effaced, some of the finest poetry in the 
language ; the sentiments actually became endeared to 
us, wise trains of reflection following the pains of learn- 
ing those favourite passages by heart. Jane was 
Macbeth and a second Roscius, my father, who had a 
good idea of acting, having been taught to read by 
Stephen Kemble, taking great pains with her. Lady 
Macbeth was ranted a little by the Princess, yet she 
looked the part well ; I was a shocking stick in Banquo, 
but a first-rate witch, a capital Hecate. The Duchess 
painted one scene for us, which did for all a bit of an 
old tower and some trees and Deddy, as we called 
the elderly maid, Mrs Deadman, superintended the 
dresses. My father was the prompter, the library was 
the theatre, and a very respectable audience of dowager 
peeresses and other visitors and residents applauded 
every speech we made. The music-master played 
martial airs on an old wretched pianoforte between the 
acts, and there was a grand supper, followed by a good 
merry dance at the end, all having gone off well. Yet 
that crowning night was nothing near the enjoy- 
ment of all the busy hours we had preparing for it. 
" Dreamer, dream not the fruition," etc., as the wise of 
all ages have repeated, none of them in prettier lines 
than these, written by my father to the music of 
Rousseau's Dream, composed as he was walking round 
the Ord Bain many a day after this. 

This was the year of the great comet ; night after 
night we watched it rising over the town of Ramsgate, 
spreading its glorious train as it rose, and thus passing 
slowly on, the wonder of all, and terror of some, a grand 
sight only equalled by the Northern lights as we used 
to see them in the Highland winters. And this was 
the season of the return of the China fleet, single 
merchantmen not daring in those war times to venture 


out to sea as in these happier, peaceful times. The 
East India shipping therefore made sail together under 
the convoy of a couple of frigates, an imposing evidence 
of the strength and wealth of the country, which had 
the most beautiful effect on the wide sea-view they 
entirely filled that ever could have been gazed at from 
any shore. The Downs, always beautiful because never 
deserted, and often very crowded, were on this occasion 
closely packed with huge Indiamen, their tall masts 
seeming to rake the skies ; and when the anchors were 
weighed, and the dark mass moved out to sea, each 
vessel carrying all her canvas to catch the breeze, all 
distinctly seen from the balcony of our house, I do not 
think a grander sight ever met wondering eyes. The 
frigates, much smarter-looking ships, kept outside as 
convoy, and on they moved like some fine pageant in a 
scene, till, hours after we had seen them leave the roads 
at Deal, the last of the long line was lost to us behind 
the North Foreland, or the South I fancy it must have 
been as nearer to us, although it was the lesser projec- 
tion of the two. 

About the middle of November we returned to 
Lincoln's Inn Fields, and then Annie Grant and Jane 
and I set to work in earnest with all our old masters, 
and this winter really made good progress. As for Mary, 
there seemed to be no use in trying to teach her any- 
thing, for she would not learn, even to read ; she was 
therefore, by the advice of old Dr Saunders, a friend of 
my grandfather Grant's, left to amuse herself as she liked 
with our baby brother Johnnie, and they were generally 
kept out in the Square all the fine hours of the day. 
This year our very handsome cousin, Ursula Launder, 
married William Norton, the natural son of Lord 
Grantley, a mere boy compared to her, for he was not 
more than two-and-twenty and she was at least twice 
his age. Her large fortune was her charm, but her 
young husband treated her with marked attention 
during her whole life, long after every vestige of her 
remarkable beauty had left her. Aunt Mary was one 
of the bridesmaids, Lord Dursley the groomsman, and 


soon after came on the great Berkeley case, which was 
decided by stripping him of name and fame and giving 
that old title to a third brother. Uncle Frere was the 
solicitor employed to get up the case for the defendant, 
and so overworked was he by it, between fatigue and 
anxiety, that he took a fever before it was over, and 
frightened us all seriously. It was a brain fever, and in 
his delirium he kept calling for little Eli to sing him 
" Crochallan," so I was sent for, to sit by his bedside 
and "gently breathe" all the plaintive Scotch and 
Gaelic airs I could remember, thus soothing him when 
most excited. He would insist on sending messengers 
here, and there, and everywhere, on writing letters, and 
consulting on law points with me and the bedclothes, 
and he was never to be thwarted, but I was to sing the 
airs he liked best. At last one day he fell asleep to 
" Crochallan," the oft-repeated " Hanouer ma vourgne " 
having quite composed him. My aunt, who was always 
watching, sat down and wept. " Even children can be 
of use," she said as she kissed me, though I was no 
child, but very near fifteen ; too old, my mother 
thought, to be again exhibited in Macbeth, which, 
having succeeded so well at Ramsgate, the Duchess was 
determined to get up again in Arklow Place. 

Jane and I were very much with the Princess. 
Her mother's handsome house looking into the Park 
near Cumberland Gate was a very agreeable change to 
us, and we were so at home there we were quite at ease 
among the family circle. Jane was still the favourite. 
Prince Augustus was with his regiment in Jersey, 
from whence he had sent a box of little French 
curiosities to his mother ; two of the toys were marked 
for Jane and me, so good-naturedly. Jane's was an 
ivory knife-grinder, mine a Frenchwoman in a high cap, 
spinning. It is at the Doune now. Instead of the 
Prince we had our friend Lord Archibald Hamilton, 
who spent most of his time with his cousin " Augusta," 
and his son Henry Hamilton, a fine boy then, though 
" accidental." Well, the play went on without me. I 
was only dresser and prompter. Lucy Drew replaced 


me as Banquo, and Georgia Drew was Hecate; the 
other characters remained the same. Our scenery was 
borrowed from the theatre, our dresses were very 
superior, as was our orchestra, and our audience was 
half the peerage. Jane outdid herself, but William's 
Macduff outdid her Macbeth. We had waited for the 
Easter holidays in order to secure him. I remember 
that old Lady Dunmore, who had, like a Frenchwoman, 
taken to religion in her old age by way of expiating the 
sins of her youth, would not attend our play in public 
her principles condemned the theatre but she saw it 
in private. We all went to her small house in Baker 
Street dressed, and acted before her, and a capital good 
dinner she gave us afterwards, all her plate out, and 
lots of fruit. She must have been very beautiful in 
her day ; quite a picture she was now, in a high cap 
like that in the prints of the Duchess of Argyle, the 
Irish beauty. Lord Dunmore was very nice, and his 
wife too a Hamilton, a cousin ; Fincastle and Charley 
Murray were charming boys. Many others there were, 
too, whom I forget I just remember Lady Georgina 
Montague being there one day a handsome, very 
dark, and very thin girl in a black frock, put on for the 
first time for her grandmother the Duchess of Gordon, 
whose funeral procession had that morning left London 
for the Highlands. My mother would hardly believe 
that the child could have been allowed to go out to 
spend a merry day with young companions at such a 
time, and attributed it to the ignorance of the governess 
who had charge of this poor deserted family. The 
Duke of Manchester was repairing his fortunes abroad 
as Governor of Jamaica; the Duchess had left home 
years before with one of her footmen. Both my father 
and mother grieved sincerely for the death of their old 
friend and neighbour with whom they had spent so 
many happy hours. Indeed, the whole of the 
Highlands mourned for her, as with all her oddities she 
was the soul of our Northern society. 

The remaining events of this, our last season in 
London, come but hazily back to me. We acted our 


Macbeth in Brunswick Square, I taking Lady Macbeth 
badly enough, I should think, on this mere family 
occasion. Duncan Macintosh, the Rothiemurchus 
forester, came to town on some of my father's law-suits, 
and was a perfect delight to everybody, with his 
shrewdness, his simplicity, his real astonishment, and 
the Highland idea of good breeding which precluded 
the expression of wonder at any novelty. Aunt Leitch, 
who was on a visit to us, seized^on him as her beau, and 
treated him and herself to the play two or three times 
a week, for it was the last appearance of Mrs Siddons ; 
she went through all her great parts, and took her leave 
of the stage as Lady Macbeth. 

Uncle Ralph ventured to Covent Garden that night ; 
he did get in, but came out again, returning to us 
nearly exhausted, his hat crushed, his coat torn, his face 
so pale that he frightened us. Never had there been 
such a crush at the doors of the pit ; it had so overcome 
even his strength, that he was unable to endure the 
heat of the closely-packed house. We heard next day 
that the audience would listen to no other performer. 
When she was on the stage a pin could have been 
heard to fall ; when she was off, all was uproar, Kemble 
himself even unattended to, and when she walked away 
at the last from her doctor and the waiting gentle- 
woman, they would bear no more ; all rose, waving hats 
and handkerchiefs, shouting, applauding, making such 
a din as might have brought the house down. All 
passionless as was that great actress's nature in private 
life, she was overcome. Uncle Ralph ever regretted 
being unable to remain to see the last of fine acting. 
She has had no successor. I am quite sure that we, 
we young people I mean, owed more to Covent Garden 
than to any other of our teachers. We not only learned 
Shakespeare by heart, thus filling our heads with 
wisdom, our fancy with the most lovely imagery, and 
warming our hearts from that rich store of good, but 
we fixed, as it were, all these impressions ; John 
Kemble and Mrs Siddons embodying all great qualities, 
becoming to us the images of the qualities we admired. 

160 POLITICS [1812 

An excuse this for the statues and pictures in the 
churches of infant times. 

In May or June poor Mr Perceval was shot, our 
neighbour in the Square, whose three daughters, dis- 
daining other associates, walked only with the three 
Miss Nicholls, Sir John Nicholls' equally exclusive 
young ladies. Lady Wilson ran in to tell my mother, 
shelhaving just had an express from Sir Griffin, who 
was in Westminster Hall. It was a great shock to 
every one, though he had been an unpopular man ; the 
suddenness of the blow and the insufficiency of the 
cause making the deed the more afflicting. It set all 
the politicians to work again, but nothing came of all 
the commotion. The Prince Regent went on with the 
same Tory party amongst whom he had thrown himself 
as soon as he became head of the Government. One 
place was easily supplied ; his former friends were just 
as far from power as before. They might and did 
abuse him, and the man deserved abuse, whatever the 
Regent did. Moore enchanted the town with his witty 
newspaper squibs, looked for as regularly every 
morning as breakfast was. Whigs blamed and Tories 
could not praise, but they all ate their leek thankfully, 
and on went the world with its generalities and 
individualities, its Buonaparte and its Wellington, " the 
most profligate Ministry that ever existed," holding the 
whip-hand over at least an equally profligate Opposition. 
Whatever sins were going on we three little girls had 
worn mourning for all. While we were at Ramsgate 
the old king's delirium had become so alarmingly 
violent it was supposed his bodily strength must give 
way under the continual paroxysms ; his death was 
therefore daily expected, so my careful mother, fearing 
that black would rise in price, bought up at a sale a 
quantity of bombazine. The king calmed, recovered 
his strength, but his mind was hopelessly gone, in 
which state properly attended to he might live for 
years. What was to be done with all the bombazine ? 
We just had to wear it, and trimmed plentifully with 
crimson it did very well. 


But now a great change was to come over the 
family. The English bar had never answered well, and 
was now to be given up. It remained to be seen how 
Parliamentary business would answer, for my father 
was elected member for the thoroughly rotten borough 
of Great Grimsby, at an expense he and the electors, 
and his agent little Sandy Grant, were not one of them 
fully able to acknowledge ; to meet some of the 
difficulties thus produced, economical measures were to 
be resorted to, which in a couple of years would set 
everything to rights. Thorley Hall had been sold some 
time before to Lord Ellenborough, and Kinloss bought 
with part of the purchase money. The house in 
Lincoln's Inn Fields was to go now and all the furniture 
not wanted to make the Doune more comfortable, for, 
to our delight, it was there we were to spend these two 
years of retirement. My father was to run up to town 
for the session at a very trifling expense. We were a 
little disturbed at the news that Annie was not to go 
North with us. My mother hoped that before the 
winter she would settle herself in some house of business, 
but in the meantime she was to pay a visit to a Mrs 
Drury, a rich widow, the sister of Mr William Hunter, 
who had been married to one of the Malings, and who 
had taken a great fancy to our dear Annie. Next came 
worse tidings. We were to have a governess; and 
very great pains our poor mother took to choose one. 
I could not count the numbers she saw, the notes she 
wrote, the references she visited ; at last she fixed upon 
a little bundle of a woman recommended by Lady 
Glenbervie. It all seemed satisfactory ; a high salary 
bribed Miss Elphick to engage for one year to go to so 
remote a country, and she came every other day to sit 
with us from the time she gave her consent to the 
bargain, that she might learn our ways and we get 
accustomed to her. My father also engaged a little 
French girl, a prote'ge' of M. Beckvelt and about Jane's 
a g e to go North as our schoolroom companion. We 
were in great grief when we said farewell in Brunswick 
Square. All the pretty presents waiting for us there 


162 PARTINGS [1812 

could not pacify either Jane or me. To me my aunt 
Lissy was inexpressibly dear, and the little cousins, of 
whom there were then four, John, Lissy, George, and 
Susan, were great pets with us. It required to have 
Rothiemurchus in prospect. 


EARLY in July of the year 1812 my mother set out 
with her children for the Doune, bidding a final adieu, 
though she knew it not, to England. I cannot re- 
member whether my father travelled with us or not. 
Yes, he must for he read Childe Harold to us ; it had 
just come out, and made its way by its own intrinsic 
merit, for popular prejudice set strong against the 
author. " To sit on rocks," etc., arrested the attention 
even of me. I was not given to poetry generally ; then, 
as now, it required " thoughts that rouse, and words 
that burn " to affect me with aught but weariness ; but 
when, after a second reading of this passage, my father 
closed the pamphlet for a moment, saying, " This is 
poetry ! " I felt that he was right, and resolved to look 
the whole poem over some day at leisure. We had also 
with us Walter Scott's three first poems, great favourites 
with us, The Seven Champions of Christendom, 
Goldsmith's History of England, and his Animated 
Nature, and in French, Adele et Theodore. This was 
our travelling library, all tumbled into a brown holland 
bag kept under the front seat of the barouche. At the 
inns where we had long rests, our own horses doing but 
few stages in the day, we amused ourselves in spouting 
from these volumes, Jane and I acting Macbeth, singing 
operas of our own invention, and playing backgammon, 
a style of thing so repugnant to the school ideas of 
propriety befitting the reign of the new governess, that 
she got wonderfully grave with her unfortunate pupils. 



We had picked her up as we left town, and thinking 
more of ourselves than of her felt quite disposed to 
quarrel with any one who wept so bitterly at leaving 
London and her own friends, when she was going to 
the Highlands amongst ours. She was a little fat 
dumpling of a woman, with fine eyes, and a sweet-toned 
voice in speaking, strangely dressed in a fashion peculiar 
to the middle classes in England in that day, when the 
modes were not studied all through society as they are 
now, nor indeed attainable by moderate persons, as the 
expense was quite beyond the means of poorer people. 
Her provision for the long journey was a paper of cakes, 
and a large thick pocket-handkerchief, which was soon 
wetted through; not an auspicious beginning where 
two such monkeys as Jane and I were concerned. 
Mary and Johnnie ate the cakes. Poor Miss Elphick ! 
she had troubled times. Her first grand stand was 
against the backgammon, " shaking dice-boxes in a 
public inn ! " We were very polite, but we would not 
give in, assuring her we were always accustomed to 
shake dice-boxes where we liked out of lesson hours. 
Next she entreated to be spared Macbeth's dagger! 
Hamlet's soliloquies ! Hecate's fury ! " So masculine 
to be strutting about and ranting in such loud tones," 
etc. etc. We were amazed ; our occupation gone ! the 
labour of months to be despised after all the applause 
we had been earning ! What were we to do ? sit silent 
with our hands before us ? Not we indeed ! We pitied 
her, and left her, thinking that our mother had made a 
most unfortunate choice in a governess. 

We entered Scotland by the Kelso Road, we passed 
the field of Flodden ; neither of us remembered why it 
should be famous. " Miss Elphick will tell us, I am 
sure," I remarked ; pert unfeeling child that I was. I 
had taken her measure at once, and knew full well she 
knew less of Flodden field than I did. " Decidedly 
not," said my father, " take the trouble to hunt out all 
the necessary information for yourself, you will be less 
likely to forget it ; I shall expect the whole history a 
week after we get home." Whether suspecting the 


truth, he had come to the rescue of the governess, or 
that he was merely carrying out his general plan of 
making us do all our work ourselves, I cannot say, and 
I did not stop to think. My head had begun to 
arrange its ideas. The Flowers o* the Forest and 
Marmion were running through it. " Ah, papa," I said, 
" I need not hunt, it's all here now, the phantom, the 
English lady, the spiked girdle and all ; I'm right, ain't 
I ? " and I looked archly over at our governess, who, 
poor woman, seemed in the moon altogether. The 
family conversation was an unknown language to her. 
" What could have made mamma choose her ? " said 
Jane to me. 

We went to see Melrose, dined at Jedburgh, passed 
Cowdenknowes, Tweedside, Ettrick Shaws, Gala Water, 
starting up in the carriage in ecstasies, flinging our- 
selves half out at the sides each time these familiar 
names excited us. In vain Miss Elphick pulled our 
frocks. I am sure she feared she had undertaken the 
charge of lunatics, particularly when I burst forth in 
song at either Tweedside or Yarrow braes. It was not 
so much the scenery, it was the " classic ground " of all 
the Border country. 

A number of French prisoners, officers, were on 
parole at Jedburgh. Lord Buchan, whom we met 
there, took us to see a painting in progress by one of 
them ; some battlefield, all the figures portraits from 
memory. The picture was already sold, and part paid 
for, and another ordered, which we were all very glad 
of, the handsome young painter having interested us 
much. The ingenuity of the French prisoners of all 
ranks was amazing, only to be equalled by their 
industry ; those of them unskilled in higher arts earned 
for themselves most comfortable additions to their 
allowance by turning bits of wood, bones, straw, almost 
anything in fact, into neat toys of many sorts, eagerly 
bought up by all who met with them. We rested a 
few days in Edinburgh and then journeyed leisurely 
by the Highland road home, still crossing the Queens- 
ferry in a miserable sailing boat, and the Tay at Inver 


for the last time in the large flat boat. When next we 
passed our boundary river the handsome bridge was 
built over it at Dunkeld, the little inn was done up, a 
fine hotel where the civillest of landlords reigned, close 
to the bridge, received all travellers; and Neil Gow 
was dead, the last of our bards no one again will ever 
play the Scotch music as he did. His sons in the quick 
measures were perhaps his equals, they gave force and 
spirit and fine execution to strathspeys and reels, but 
they never gave the slow, the tender, airs with the real 
feeling of their beauty their father had. Nor can any 
one now hope to revive a style passing away, A few 
true fingers linger amongst us, but this generation will 
see the last of them. Our children will not be as 
national as their parents reflections made like some 
puns, ct loisir, for at the time we last ferried over the 
Tay I was only on the look-out for all the well- 
remembered features of the scenery. We baited the 
horses at Moulinearn, not the pretty country inn of the 
rural village which peeps out on the Tummel from its 
screen of fine wooding now, but a dreary, desolate, 
solitary stone house, dirt without and smoke within, and 
little to be had in it but whisky. The road to Blair 
then passed over the summit of the hills, over-looking 
the river and the valley in which nestled Fascally, and 
allowing of a peep at Loch Rannoch in the far distance ; 
then on through Killiecrankie, beautiful then as now, 
more beautiful, for no Perth traders had built villas on 
its sheltered banks, nor Glasgow merchant perched a 
castle on the rock. Hardly a cabin broke the solitude 
in those days, to interrupt the awe we always felt on 
passing the stone set up where Dundee fell, Bonny 
Dundee, whom we Highlanders love still in spite of 
Walter Scott. Miss Elphick, poor soul, was un- 
doubtedly as innocent of any acquaintance with him 
as she had been with James IV., but there had been 
something in my father's manner on the Flodden field 
day which prevented any further display of my ill- 
breeding. I therefore contented myself with a verse of 
the song, and a little conversation with my mother, who 


was a perfect chronological table of every event in 
modern history. 

The old inn at Blair was high up on the hill, over- 
looking the Park, the wall of which was just opposite 
the windows. We used to watch through the trunks of 
the trees for the antlered herds of deer, and walk to a 
point from whence we could see the Castle far down 
below, beside the river, a large, plain, very ugly building 
now, that very likely looked grander before its battle- 
ments were levelled by order of the Government after 
the rebellion. Here we were accustomed to a particu- 
larly good pudding, a regular souffl that would have 
done no discredit to a first-rate French cook, only that 
he would have been amazed at the quantity of whisky 
poured over it. The German brandy puddings must 
be of the same genus, improved, perhaps, by the 
burning. The " Athole lad " who waited on us was 
very awkward, red-haired, freckled, in a faded, nearly 
threadbare tartan jacket. My father and mother had a 
bedroom, Johnnie and the maid a closet, but we three 
and our governess slept in the parlour, two in a bed, 
and the beds were in the wall shut in by panels, and 
very musty was the smell of them. So poor Miss 
Elphick cried, which we extremely resented as a 
reflection on the habits of our country. Next day 
was worse, a few miles of beauty, and then the dreary 
moor to Dalnacardoch, another lone house with very 
miserable steading about it, and a stone-walled sheep- 
fold near the road ; and then the high hill-pass to 
Dalwhinnie very nearly as desolate. Nothing can 
exceed the dreariness of Drumochter all heather, bog, 
granite, and the stony beds of winter torrents, unrelieved 
by one single beauty of scenery, if we except a treeless 
lake with a shooting-box beside it, and three or four 
fields near the little burn close to which stands the 
good inn of Dalwhinnie. We felt so near home there 
that we liked the lonely place, and were almost sorry 
we were to sleep at Pitmain, the last stage on our long 
journey. We never see such inns now ; no carpets on 
the floors, no cushions in the chairs, no curtains to the 


windows. Of course polished tables, or even clean ones, 
were unknown. All the accessories of the dinner were 
wretched, but the dinner itself, I remember, was 
excellent; hotch-potch, salmon, fine mutton, grouse, 
scanty vegetables, bad bread, but good wine. A mile 
on from Pitmain were the indications of a village the 
present town of Kingussie a few very untidy-looking 
slated stone houses each side of a road, the bare heather 
on each side of the Spey, the bare mountains on each 
side of the heather, a few white-walled houses here and 
there, a good many black turf huts, frightful without, 
though warm and comfortable within. A little farther 
on rose Belleville, a great hospital-looking place pro- 
truding from young plantations, and staring down on 
the rugged meadow-land now so fine a farm. The 
birch woods began to show a little after this, but 
deserted the banks about that frightful Kincraig where 
began the long moor over which we were glad to look 
across the Spey to Invereshie, from whence all the 
Rothiemurchus side of the river was a succession of 
lovely scenery. On we went over the weary moor of 
Alvie to the loch of the same name with its kirk and 
manse, so singularly built on a long promontory, 
running far out into the water ; Tor Alvie on the right, 
Craigellachie before us, and our own most beautiful 
"plain of the fir trees" opening out as we advanced, 
the house of the Doune appearing for a moment as we 
passed on by Lynwilg. We had as usual to go on to 
the big boat at Inverdruie, feasting our eyes all the way 
on the fine range of the Cairngorm, the pass of the 
Larrig between Cairngorm and Brae-Riach, the hill of 
Kincairn standing forward to the north to enclose the 
forest which spread all along by the banks of the Spey, 
the foreground relieved by hillocks clothed with birch, 
fields, streams, and the smoke from the numerous 
cottages. Our beloved Ord Bain rose right in front 
with its bald head and birch-covered sides, and we 
could point out our favourite spots to one another as we 
passed along, some coming into sight as others receded, 
till the clamour of our young voices, at first amusing, 


had to be hushed. We were so happy ! we were at last 
come home ; London was given up, and in our dearly 
loved Rothiemurchus we now fully believed we were to 
live and die. 

We found the Doune all changed again, more of the 
backwater, more of the hill, and all the garden gone. 
This last had been removed to its present situation in 
the series of pretty hollows in the birch wood between 
the Drum and the Milltown muir ; a fashion of the day, 
to remove the fruit and vegetables to an inconvenient 
distance from the cook, the kitchen department of the 
garden being considered the reverse of ornamental. 
The new situation of ours, and the way it was laid out, 
was the admiration of everybody, and there could not 
well have been anything of the sort more striking to 
the eye, with the nicely-managed entrance among the 
trees, and the gardener's cottage so picturesquely 
placed ; but I always regretted the removal. I like to 
be able to lounge in among the cabbages, to say 
nothing of the gooseberries ; and a walk of a quarter of 
a mile on a hot summer's day before reaching the 
refreshment of fruit is almost as tormenting to the 
drawing-room division of the family as is the sudden 
want of a bit of thyme, mint, or parsley to those in 
authority in the offices, with no one beyond the swing- 
door idle enough to have half an hour to spare for 
fetching some. A very enjoyable shrubbery replaced 
the dear old formal kitchen garden, with belts of 
flowering trees, and gay beds of flowers, grass plots, 
dry walks, and the Doune Hill in the midst of it, all 
neatly fenced from the lawn ; and so agreeable a retire- 
ment was this piece of ornamental ground, that I can't 
but think it very bad taste in my brother John and the 
Duchess of Bedford to take away the light green paling 
and half the dressed ground, and throw so large an 
open space about that ugly half-finished house: for I 
am writing now after having been with my husband 
and my children and three of my nephews in the 
Highlands, a few really happy weeks at Inverdruie; 
finding changes enough in our Duchus, as was to be 

170 AN ERA IN LIFE [1812 

expected after an absence of twenty years ; much to 
regret, some things to praise, and many more to wish 
for. In my older age it was the condition of the 
people that particularly engaged me; in 1812 it was 
the scenery. 

It has always seemed to me that this removal to 
Rothiemurchus was the first great era in my life. All 
our habits changed all connections, all surroundings. 
We had been so long in England, we elder children, 
that we had to learn our Highland life again. The 
language, the ways, the style of the house, the visitors, 
the interests, all were so entirely different from what 
had been latterly affecting us, we seemed to be starting 
as it were afresh. I look back on it even now as a 
point to date up to and on from ; the beginning of a 
second stage in the journey. Our family then consisted 
of my father and mother, we three girls and our 
governess, and our young French companion Caroline 
Favrin, William during the summer holidays, Johnnie, 
and a maid between him and my mother, poor Peggy 
Davidson. Besides her there were the following 
servants : Mrs Bird the coachman's wife, an English- 
woman, as upper housemaid and plain needlewoman ; 
under her Betty Ross, the gardener's youngest 
daughter ; Grace Grant, the beauty of the country, only 
daughter of Sandy Grant the greusiach or shoemaker, 
our schoolroom maid ; old Belle Macpherson, a soldier's 
widow who had followed the Q2nd all over the world, 
and had learned to make up the Marquis of Huntly's 
shirts remarkably well at Gibraltar, box-plaiting all the 
frills he never wore them small-plaited, though my 
father did for many a long day after this ! She was the 
laundrymaid. The cook and housekeeper was an 
English Mrs Carr from Cumberland, an excellent 
manager; a plain cook under her from Inverness; and 
old Christie as kitchenmaid. The men were Simon 
Ross, the gardener's eldest son, as butler, and an 
impudent English footman, Richard, with a bottle-nose, 
who yet turned all the women's heads; William Bird 
the coachman, and George Ross, another son of the 


gardener's, as groom. Old John Mackintosh brought in 
all the wood and peats for the fires, pumped the water, 
turned the mangle, lighted the oven, brewed the beer, 
bottled the whisky, kept the yard tidy, and stood 
enraptured listening to us playing on the harp "like 
Daavid " ! There was generally also a clerk of Mr 
Cooper's, my father requiring assistance in his study, 
where he spent the greater part of his time managing 
all his perplexed affairs. 

At the farm were the grieve, and as many lads as he 
required for the work of the farm under him, who all 
slept in a loft over the stables, and ate in the farm 
kitchen. Old George Ross No. I not the gardener 
had a house and shop in the offices; he was turner, 
joiner, butcher, weaver, lint-dresser, wool-comber, dyer, 
and what not ; his old wife was the henwife, and had 
her task of so many hanks of wool to spin in the winter. 
Old Jenny Cameron, who had never been young, and 
was known as Jenny Dairy, was supreme in the farm 
kitchen ; she managed cows, calves, milk, stores, and 
the spinning, assisted by an active girl whom I never 
recollect seeing do anything but bake the oaten bread 
over the fire, and scour the wooden vessels used for 
every purpose, except on the washing and rinsing days 
(called by the maids ranging), when Jenny gave help in 
the laundry, in which abode of mirth and fun the under- 
housemaid spent her afternoons. Besides this regular 
staff, John Fyffe, the handsome smith, came twice a 
week to the forge with his apprentices, when all the 
maids were sure to require repairs in the ironworks ; 
and the greusiach came once a week for the check he 
carried in his bosom to the bank at Inverness, walking 
the thirty-six miles as another man, not a Highlander, 
would go three, and the thirty-six back again, with the 
money in the same safe hiding-place. My father at 
this time paid most of the wages in cash. There were 
also the bowman, who had charge of the cattle, named, 
I suppose, from the necessity of arming him in ancient 
times with the weapon most used, when he had to 
guard his herd from marauders. John Macgregor was 

172 MISS ELPHICK [1812 

our bowman's name, though he was never spoken of but 
as John Bain or John the Fair, on account of his com- 
plexion. He was married to George Ross the orraman's 
daughter (orraman means the jobber or Jack-of-all- 
trades), and, like almost all the rest of them, lived with 
us till he died. The gardener, and those of his family 
who were not married or in our service, lived in the 
pretty cottage at one entrance of the new garden, which 
also served as lodge to the White Gate. The game- 
keeper, tall, handsome John Macpherson, had an ugly 
little hut at the Polchar, The fox-hunter, little, active 
Lewie Gordon, had part of the Kinapol house; the 
principal shepherd, John Macgregor, known as the 
muckle shepherd from his great stature, had the 
remainder ; the under-shepherd, also a Macgregor, lived 
nearer the mountains. The carpenter, Donald Maclean, 
had another part of Kinapol ; he had married my 
mother's first cook, Nelly Grant, she who could make so 
many puddings, ninety-nine, if I remember right. The 
Colleys, the masons, were at Riannachan ; far enough 
apart all of them, miles between any two, but it little 
mattered ; we were slow coaches in our Highlands ; 
time was of little value, space of no account, an errand 
was a day's work, whether it took the day or only an 
hour or two. Three or four extra aids. Tarn Mathieson 
the carrier, Tarn MTavish the smuggler, and Mary 
Loosach and the Nairn fisherwives, with their creels on 
their backs, made up the complement of our Highland 

Poor Miss Elphick ! nothing could reconcile her at 
first to the wild country she had got into. Between 
the inns and bleak moors and the Gaelic she had been 
overpowered, and had hardly articulated since we 
crossed Drumochter. She had yet to awake to the 
interest of the situation, to accommodate herself besides 
to manners so entirely different from any she had been 
accustomed to. How our mother could have taken a 
fancy to this strange little woman was ever an enigma 
to Jane and me ; she was uneducated, had lived 
amongst a low set of people, and had not any notion 


of the grave business she had undertaken. Her 
temper was passionate and irritable; we had to 
humour, to manage her, instead of learning from her to 
discipline ourselves. Yet she was clever, very warm- 
hearted, and she improved herself wonderfully after 
being with us a little time. Her father, of German 
extraction, had been bailiff to the Duke of Clarence 
at Bushley Park; he lived jollily with a set of persons 
of his own station, spending freely what was earned 
easily, and so leaving nothing behind him. His son 
succeeded him in his place ; his elder daughters were 
married poorly ; this one, the youngest, had nothing for 
it but the usual resource of her class, go out as a 
governess, for which responsible situation she had 
never been in the least prepared. Her childhood had 
been chiefly passed under Mrs Jordan's eye, among all 
her Fitz-Clarences ; she then went to a third-rate 
school, and at eighteen went to keep her rather 
dissipated brother's house during the interval between 
his first and second marriage. We got on better with 
her after a while, but at first her constant companion- 
ship made us very miserable. Oh, how we regretted 
Annie Grant ! 

It was the intention of my father and mother to 
remain quietly at the Doune for the next two years, 
that is, my father intended the Doune to be the home 
of his wife and children. He could himself be with us 
only occasionally, as he had to carry his election, and 
then in the proper season take his place in Parliament. 
I cannot bring to mind whether he wrote M.P. after 
his name this year or the next, but in either the one or 
the other Great Grimsby was gained at what cost the 
ruin of a family could certify. Whether he were with 
us or no, visitors poured in as usual ; no one then ever 
passed a friend's house in the Highlands, nor was it 
ever thought necessary to send invitations on the one 
part, or to give information on the other; the doors 
were open literally, for ours had neither lock nor bolt, 
and people came in sure of a hearty welcome and good 
cheer. The Lady Logie I remember well; I was 


always fond of her, she was so fond of me; and her 
old father, and her sister Grace Baillie, whom I over- 
heard one morning excusing my plain appearance to 
my mother "pale and thin certainly, but very lady- 
like, which is always sufficient" No Mr Macklin with 
his flute he was in India, gone as a barrister to 
Bombay, and recommended to the good graces of my 
uncle Edward. Burgie and Mrs Dunbar Brodie paid 
their regular visit. She measured all the rooms, and 
he played the flageolet in the boat upon the lake not 
badly, though we young people preferred hearing Mrs 
Bird, the coachman's wife, sing the " Battle of the Nile " 
in that situation. Then we had poor Sir Alexander 
Boswell, not a baronet then, Bozzy's son, his wife, wife's 
sister and quiet husband, Mr Conyngham new 
acquaintances made through the Dick Lauders, who 
lived near them ; they were also with us, and all the 
old set. Amongst others, Sir William Gordon- 
Gumming, newly come to his title and just of age; 
some of his sisters with him. He was the queerest 
creature, ugly, yet one liked his looks, tall and well 
made, and awkward more from oddity than ungrace- 
fulness ; extraordinary in his conversation between 
cleverness and a kind of want of it. Everybody liked 
Sir Willie, and many years afterwards he told me that 
at this time he very much liked me, and wanted my 
father to promise me to him in a year or two ; but my 
father would make no promises, only just a warm 
welcome on the old footing when this oddity should 
return from his continental travels. He was just 
setting out on them, and I never heard of this early 
conquest of mine, for he fell in love with Elizabeth 
Campbell at Florence ; " And ye see, Lizzy, my dear," 
said he to me, as he was driving me in his buggy round 
the beautiful grounds at Altyre, " Eliza Campbell put 
Eliza Grant quite out of my head ! " We had no 
Kinrara; that little paradise had been shut up ever 
since the death of the Duchess of Gordon, except just 
during a month in the shooting season, when the 
Marquis of Huntly came there with a bachelor party. 


We girls saw little of all this company, old friends 
as some of them were, as, except at breakfast where 
Miss Elphick and I always appeared, we never now left 
our own premises. We found this schoolroom life very 
irksome at first, it was so different from what we had 
been accustomed to. Governess and pupils slept in 
one large room up at the top of the new part of the 
house, the barrack-room where I so well remembered 
Edwina Gumming combing her long yellow hair. We 
had each of us a little white-curtained bed, made to fit 
into the slope of the roof in its own corner, leaving 
space enough between the bedstead and the end wall 
for the washing-table. The middle of the room with 
its window, fireplace, toilettes, and book table, made 
our common dressing-room ; there were chests of 
drawers each side of the fireplace, and a large closet in 
the passage, so that we were comfortably lodged. 
Miss Elphick began her course of instruction by 
jumping out of bed at six o'clock in the morning, and 
throwing on her clothes with the haste of one escaping 
from a house on fire ; she then wiped her face and 
hands, and smoothed her cropped hair, and her toilet 
was over. Some woman, I forget who, telling Sir 
William Gumming, who was seated next her at break- 
fast, that she never took more than ten minutes to 
dress in the morning, he instantly got up, plate and 
cup in hand, and moved off to the other side of the 
table. He would not then have sat beside me, for Miss 
Elphick considered ten minutes quite sufficient for any 
young lady to give to her toilet upon week-days. 
We could " clean ourselves " properly, as she did, upon 
Sundays. She could not allow us time for such 
unnecessary dawdling. We must have an hour of the 
harp or the pianoforte before breakfast, and our papa 
chose that we should be out another; therefore, we 
must give ourselves a "good wash" on Sundays, and 
make that do for the week. We were thoroughly 
disgusted. Her acquirements were on a par with this 
style of breeding ; she and I had a furious battle the 
first week we began business, because during a history 


lesson she informed dear Mary that Scotland had been 
conquered by Queen Elizabeth, and left by her with 
her other possessions to her nephew, King James ! I 
was pert enough, I daresay, for the education we had 
received had given us an extreme contempt for such 
ignorance, but what girl of fifteen, brought up as I had 
been, could be expected to show respect for an illiterate 
woman of very ungovernable temper, whose ideas had 
been gathered from a class lower than we could 
possibly have been acquainted with, and whose habits 
were those of a servant ? She insisted also that there 
never had been a Caliph Haroun al Raschid our most 
particular friend that he was only a fictitious character 
in those Eastern fairy tales ; and when, to prove his 
existence, we brought forward the list of his presents to 
Charlemagne, we found she did not believe in him 
either ! Yet she could run off a string of dates like 
Isabella in The Good French Governess. I thought of 
her historical knowledge a good many years afterwards, 
when visiting General Need's nephew, Tom Walker, 
at Aston Hall, in Derbyshire ; we had known him very 
well in Edinburgh when he was in the Scots Greys. 
He was public-school and college bred, had been a 
dozen years in the army, was married to a marquis's 
grand-daughter, and had a fortune of 3000 a year. 
He was showing us a collection of coins, some of them 
of the reign of Elizabeth, and after calling our attention 
to them, he produced some base money which she had 
coined on some emergency in plain terms, to cheat 
the public. " And here, you see," added he, picking up 
several other base pieces, " Philip and Mary, following 
her bad example, cheated the public too." 

It was not to be supposed that we could get on very 
comfortably with poor Miss Elphick; we were 
ungovernable, I daresay, but she was totally unfit to 
direct us ; and then, when we saw from the windows of 
our schoolroom, a perfect prison to us, the fine summer 
pass away, sun shining, birds singing, river flowing, all 
in vain for us ; when we heard the drawing-room party 
setting out for all our favourite haunts, and felt our- 


selves denied our ancient privilege of accompanying it, 
we, who had hitherto roamed really " fancy free," no 
wonder we rebelled at being thus cooped up, and 
detested the unfortunate governess who thus deprived 
us of liberty. Miss Elphick determined to leave ; she 
felt herself quite unequal to the Highlands and the 
Highland children, so she went to make her complaint 
to my mother. She returned after a long conference, 
seemingly little improved in temper by the interview. 
However she had fared, we fared worse; she was, to 
all appearance, civilly treated, which we were not I 
was first sent for, and well reproved, but not allowed to 
speak one word to excuse myself; called impudent, 
ignorant, indolent, impertinent, deprived of all indul- 
gences, threatened with still heavier displeasure, and 
sent back to my duties in such a state of wrath that I 
was more decided than ever on resisting the governess, 
and only regretted my powers of annoyance could not 
be brought to bear also on my mother. Jane then had 
her maternal lecture, which gave her a fit of tears, so 
bitter that she had to be sent to bed ; she was silent as 
to what had passed, but she was more grieved than I 
was. My father had been from home during this 
commotion, but I suppose he was informed on his 
return of what had taken place, for an entire reform in 
every way was the result of this " agitation." Until he 
came back we were miserable enough; Miss Elphick 
never spoke to Jane or me, threw our books, pens, 
and pencils at us, contradicted our every wish, to make 
us know, she said, that she was over us. She doubled 
our lessons, curtailed our walks, and behaved altogether 
with vulgarity. My mother soon forgave Jane ; I, who 
was never a favourite, was rather unjustly kept out 
of favour not an improving treatment of a naturally 
passionate temper. 

My father met us with his usual affection, but next 
day his manner was so stiffly dignified we were pre- 
pared for a summons to attend him in the study. I 
was first ordered to appear. I had determined with 
Jane to tell my father boldly all our grievances, to 



expose to him the unsuitability of our governess, and to 
represent to him that it could not be expected we 
would learn from a person whom we felt ourselves 
fitted to teach. Alas, for my high resolves! There 
was something so imposing about my father when he 
sat in judgment that awe generally overcame all who 
were presented to him. Remonstrances besides would 
have been useless, as he addressed me very differently 
from what I expected as I stood before him, all my 
courage gone, just waiting my doom in silence. I 
forget the exact words of his long harangue ; he was 
never very brief in his speeches, but the purport is in 
my head now, for he told me what I knew was the 
truth. He said Miss Elphick was not exactly the sort 
of governess he could have wished for us, but that she 
was in many respects the best out of many my mother 
had taken the trouble to inquire about. She had great 
natural talents, habits of neatness, order, and industry, in 
all of which we were deficient ; all these she could teach 
us, with many other equally useful things. A more 
correct knowledge of history, a more cultivated mind, 
would have been a great advantage certainly, but we 
could not expect everything ; what he did expect, 
however, was that his children should act as became 
the children of a gentleman, the descendants of a long 
line of gentlemen, and not by rude unfeeling remarks, 
impertinence, and insubordination put themselves on a 
par with their inferiors. Gentlemen and gentlewomen 
were studious of the feelings of all around them ; they 
were characterised by that perfect good-breeding which 
would avoid inflicting the slightest annoyance on any 
human being. 

This lecture had considerable effect on me. I 
dreaded compromising my gentle blood ; I also believed 
in the difficulty of procuring a suitable governess. My 
conduct therefore improved in politeness, but I cannot 
say that I ever learned to esteem poor Miss Elphick. 
Jane's private interview ^vith my father did not last so 
long as mine ; she had never been so pert nor so 
intractable as I had been, therefore she had less to 


reform. She said my father had quite failed to convince 
her that they had got a suitable governess for us, she 
was therefore sure that he had some doubts on the point 
himself; but as there seemed a determination not to 
part with her we had to make the best of it ; and from 
this time Miss Elphick and Jane got on very well 
together ; I think, at last, Jane really liked her. She 
improved wonderfully. Her conversation in the study 
lasted an hour or more, and she left it much more 
humble than she had entered it. What passed never 
transpired, but her manner became less imperious, her 
assertions less dogmatic. Dictionaries, biographies, 
gazetteers, chronologies were added to our bookcase, 
and these were always referred to afterwards in any 
uncertainty, though it was done by way of giving us the 
trouble of searching in order to remember better. 

Schoolroom affairs went on more smoothly after this 
settlement. We were certainly kept very regularly at 
work, and our work was sufficiently varied, but the heads 
were properly rested for the most part, and we had 
battled out a fair amount of exercise. 

In the summer we rose at six, practised an hour, 
walked an hour, and then the younger ones had break- 
fast, a plan Dr Combe would have changed with 
advantage. Miss Elphick and I had often to wait two 
hours longer before our morning's meal was tasted, for 
we joined the party in the eating-room, and my father 
and mother were very late in appearing. We each took 
a bit of bread before the early walk, a walk that tired 
me greatly. Studies went on till twelve, when we went 
out again. At two we dined, and had half an hour to 
ourselves afterwards. We studied again till five, and 
spent the rest of the evening as we liked, out of doors 
till dark in summer, or in the drawing-room, for we had 
" agitated " to get rid of learning lessons overnight and 
had succeeded. In winter we rose half an hour later, 
without candle, or fire, or warm water. Our clothes 
were all laid on a chair overnight in readiness for being 
taken up in proper order next morning. My mother 
would not give us candles, and Miss Elphick insisted on 


our getting up. We were not allowed hot water, and 
really in the Highland winters, when the breath froze 
on the sheets, and the water in the jugs became cakes of 
ice, washing was a very cruel necessity. As we could play 
our scales in the dark, the two pianofortes and the harp 
began the day's work. How very near crying was the 
one whose turn set her at the harp I will not speak of; 
the strings cut the poor cold fingers. Martyr the first 
sat in the dining-room at the harp, martyr the second 
put her poor blue fingers to the keys of the grand piano- 
forte in the drawing-room, for in these two rooms the 
fires were never lighted till near nine o'clock. Mary 
was better off. She being a beginner practised under 
Miss Elphick's superintendence in the schoolroom, 
where, if Grace Grant had not a good fire burning 
brightly by seven o'clock, she was likely to hear of it. 
Our alfresco playing below was not of much use to us ; 
we had better have been warm in our beds for all the 
good it did us. As we had no early walk in winter, we 
went out at half after eleven, and at five we had a good 
romp all over the old part of the house, playing at hide- 
and-seek in the long garret and its many dependencies, 
till it was time for Miss Elphick, who dined in the 
parlour, to dress. We had a charming hour to ourselves 
then by the good fire in the schoolroom, no candle 
allowed, till we had to dress ourselves and take our work 
down to the drawing-room, where I had tea ; the rest 
had supped upstairs on bread, Johnnie and Caroline 
Favrin alone being able to take the milk. Poor, dear 
Jane, how I longed to give her one of the cups of tea I 
was allowed myself; she was too honest to go into the 
nursery and get one from Peggy Davidson. 

We really soon got to like the regularity of our life. 
Once accustomed to the discipline we hardly felt it as 
such, and we got very much interested in most of our 
employments, anxious to show our father that we were 
making good use of our time. We generally played to 
him in the evening whether there were guests or no, and 
once a week we had each to give him something new, on 
the execution of which he passed judgment, not unspar- 


ingly, for he was particular to a fault in finding fault. 
Once a week we had a French evening when there was 
no company, and we read aloud occasionally after tea, 
in turns, such bits as he had himself selected for us out 
of good authors, the same passage over and over till we 
had acquired the proper expression. He often read 
aloud himself any passage that struck him, either from 
books, reviews, or newspapers. We had a good 
command of books, a fair library of our own, and a 
really good one collected by my father. My father 
always commented on the passages selected, ever in 
a spirit of liberality and kindness ; I never heard an ill- 
natured remark from his lips, on either dead or living, 
nor noticed the very slightest interest in gossip of any 
sort ; he meddled in no man's business, was charitable, 
in St Paul's sense of the word, in all his judgments. It 
was no common privilege to grow up under such a 

My mother, when in health, was an example of 
industry. She kept a clean and tidy house, and an 
excellent table, not doing much herself, but taking care 
to see all well done. She was very kind to the poor, 
and encouraged us to visit them and work for them, and 
attend to them when sick. She was a beautiful needle- 
woman, and taught us to sew and cut out, and repair all 
our own, our father's, brothers', and family linen. She 
had become Highland wife enough to have her spinnings 
and dyeings, and weavings of wool and yarn, and flax 
and hanks, and she busied herself at this time in all the 
stirring economy of a household " remote from cities," 
and consequently forced to provide its own necessities. 
Her evening readings were her relaxation ; she was very 
well read, thoroughly read in English classics, and she 
possessed a memory from which neither fact nor date 
ever escaped. When idle, we used to apply to her, and 
never found her wrong. She used to employ us to go 
her errands among the people, and we got Miss Elphick 
broken in at last to like the long wanderings through 
the fir wood. We had two ponies, which we rode in 
turn ; a tent in the shrubbery in summer, the garden in 


autumn, the poultry-yard in spring, the farm-yard at all 
times, with innumerable visits to pay to friends of all 
degrees. Such was our Highland home; objects of 
interest all round us, ourselves objects of interest to all 
round, little princes and princesses in our Duchus, where 
the old feudal feelings still reigned in their deep 
intensity. And the face of Nature so beautiful 
rivers, lakes, burnies, fields, banks, braes, moors, woods, 
mountains, heather, the dark forest, wild animals, wild 
flowers, wild fruits ; the picturesque inhabitants, the 
legends of our race, fairy tales, raids of the clans, 
haunted spots, cairns of the murdered all and every- 
thing that could touch the imagination, there abounded 
and acted as a charm on the children of the chieftain 
who was adored ; for my father was the father of his 
people, loved for himself as well as for his name. 


ROTHIEMURCHUS at this period contained four large 
farms the Doune, where we lived ourselves, to which 
my father was constantly adding such adjoining scraps 
as circumstances enabled him now and then to get 
possession of; Inverdruie, where lived his great-uncle 
Captain Lewis Grant, the last survivor of the old race ; 
the Croft, where now was settled his cousin James 
Cameron; and the Dell, occupied by Duncan Mac- 
intosh, the forester, who had permission to take in as 
many acres of the adjacent moors as suited his 
husbandry. Quantities of smaller farms, from a mere 
patch to a decent steading, were scattered here and 
there among the beautiful birch woods, near swiftly 
running streams, or farther away among the gloom of 
the fir forest, wherever an opening afforded light enough 
for a strip of verdure to brighten the general carpet of 
cranberries and heather. The carpenter, the smith, the 
fox-hunter, the saw-millers, the wheel-wright, the few 
Chelsea pensioners, each had his little field, while 
comparatively larger holdings belonged to a sort of 
yeomanry coeval with our own possession, or even some 
of them found there by our ancestor the Laird of 
Muckerach, the second son of our Chief, who displaced 
the Shaws, for my father was but the seventh laird of 
Rothiemurchus ; the Shaws reigned over this beautiful 
property before the Grants seized it, and they had 
succeeded the Comyns, lords not only of Badenoch but 
of half our part of the north besides. The forest was 



at this time so extensive there was little room for 
tillage through the wide plain it covered. It was very 
pretty here and there to come upon a little cultivated 
spot, a tiny field by the burn-side with a horse or a 
cow upon it, a cottage often built of the black peat 
mould, its chimney, however, smoking comfortably, a 
churn at the door, a girl bleaching linen, or a guid-wife 
in her high white cap waiting to welcome us, miles 
away from any other spot so tenanted. Here and there 
upon some stream a picturesque saw-mill was situated, 
gathering its little hamlet round ; for one or two held 
double saws, necessitating two millers, two assistants, 
two homes with all their adjuncts, and a larger wood- 
yard to hold, first the logs, and then all they were cut 
up into. The wood manufacture was our staple, on it 
depended our prosperity. It was at its height during 
the war, when there was a high duty on foreign timber ; 
while it flourished so did we, and all the many depend- 
ing on us ; when it fell, the Laird had only to go back 
to black cattle again " like those that were before him." 
It was a false stimulus, said the political economists. 
If so, we paid for it. 

Before introducing you, dear children, to our 
Rothiemurchus society, we must get up a bit of 
genealogy, or you would never understand our relation- 
ships or our manners or connections in the north 
country. In the reign of the English popish Mary and 
of the Scotch regencies, in the year 1556, I think, but 
am not quite certain, the Chief of the clan Grant 
presented his second son Patrick with the moor of 
Muckerach in Strathspey, on which he built a tower. 
The mother of Patrick was a Lady Margaret Stewart, 
daughter of the Earl of Athole, and cousin to the 
Queen. Whom he married I forget He had been a 
clever enterprising man, for the Shaws having dis- 
pleased the Government by repeated acts of 
insubordination, a common offence in those times, 
their lands were confiscated, and the Rothiemurchus 
portion presented to the Laird of Muckerach "gin he 
could win it" which without more ado he did, and 


[To face page 184. 

1651] OLD STORIES 185 

built himself a house at the Dell, the door stone of 
which he brought from his tower on the moor, and to 
this day there it is, with the date cut deep into it. The 
Shaws, though removed, remaining troublesome, he 
repaired the ruins of an old castle of the Comyns on 
an island in Loch-an-Eilan in case of any extraordinary 
mishap, and he pulled down and quite destroyed 
an old fort of the Shaws on the Doune Hill, 
leaving his malediction to any of his successors 
who should rebuild it. He must have had stirring 
times of it, yet he died peaceably in his bed, and was 
succeeded by sons, for some generations of no great 
note, a Duncan, a James, a Patrick, etc., none of them 
remarkable except Duncan, who was surnamed " of the 
Silver Cups " from possessing two silver cups, probably 
a rare piece of splendour in a Highland household in 
those days. A second James inherited more of the 
qualities of the first Laird ; his father, whose name I am 
not sure of, but called in the Gaelic the Foolish Laird, 
was but a poor body ; he let the Shaws get rather 
ahead again, married badly, and was altogether so 
unfit to rule that his rather early death was not 
regretted. He either fell over a rock or was drowned 
in a hunting party nobody inquired into particulars. 

The reign of his son opened unpleasantly; the 
Shaws were very troublesome, and Laird James had to 
fight them ; the Shaws, of course, got the worst of it, 
though they lived through many a fight to fight again. 
At last their chief was killed, which sobered this 
remnant of a clan, but they had to bury him, and no 
grave would suit them but one in the kirkyard of 
Rothiemurchus beside his fathers. With such array as 
their fallen fortunes permitted of, they brought their 
dead and laid him unmolested in that dust to which we 
must all return. But oh, what horrid times ! His 
widow next morning on opening the door of her house 
at Dalnavert caught in her arms the corpse, which had 
been raised in the night and carried back to her. It 
was buried again, and again it was raised, more times 
than I care to say, till Laird James announced he was 

186 MACALPINE [1651-1711 

tired of the play. The corpse was raised but carried 
home no more. It was buried deep down within the 
kirk, beneath the Laird's own seat, and every Sunday 
when he went to pray he stamped his feet upon the 
heavy stone he had laid over the remains of his enemy. 
Laird James took to wife a very clever woman, the 
daughter of Mackintosh of Killachy, nearly related to 
the Mackintosh Chief (Sir James Mackintosh, the famed 
of our day, is that Killachy's descendant). Her name 
was Grace, but on account of her height, and perhaps 
of her abilities, she was always called in the family 
Grizzel Mor. I do not know what fortune she brought 
beyond herself and the contents of a great green chest, 
very heavy, with two deep drawers at the bottom of it, 
which stood in the long garret as far back as my 
recollection reaches, and held the spare blankets well 
peppered, and with bits of tallow candles amongst 
them. She was the mother of Macalpine Patrick 
Grant, surnamed Macalpine, I don't well know why, the 
great man of our line, who would have been great in 
any line. He removed from the Dell to the Doune, 
built what was then thought a fine house there, and had 
the family arms sculptured and coloured set over the 
door. I remember regretting the shutting up of that 
door, and the dashing over of the coat-of-arms with 
yellow mortar and stones. His brothers were Colonel 
William Grant, who married in 1711 Anne, a daughter 
of Ludovic Grant of Grant, and was the founder of the 
Ballindallochs, and Mr John Grant, who died unmarried. 
He had plenty of sons and daughters by his wife, who 
was a grand-daughter of the Laird of Grant, his Chief, 
one of whose sisters was married to Lovat. Macalpine 
ruled not only his own small patrimony, but mostly 
all the country round. His wisdom was great, his 
energy of mind and body untiring. He must have 
acted as a kind of despotic sovereign, for he went about 
with a body of four-and-twenty picked men, gaily 
dressed, of whom the principal and the favourite was 
his foster-brother, Ian Bain or John the Fair, also a 
Grant of the family of Achnahatanich. Any offences 

1677-1743] HIS SONS 187 

committed anywhere this band took cognisance of. 
Macalpine himself was judge and jury, and the sentence 
quickly pronounced was as quickly executed, even when 
the verdict doomed to death. A corpse with a dagger 
in it was not infrequently met with among the heather, 
and sometimes a stout fir branch bore the remains of a 
meaner victim. I never heard the justice of a sentence 
questioned. Macalpine was a great man in every sense 
of the word, tall and strong made, and very handsome, 
and a beau ; his trews (he never wore the kilt) were 
laced down the sides with gold, the brogues on his 
beautifully-formed feet were lined and trimmed with 
feathers, his hands, as soft and white as a lady's and 
models as to shape, could draw blood from the finger- 
nails of any other hand they grasped, and they were so 
flexible they could be bent back to form a cup which 
would hold a tablespoonful of water. He was an 
epicure, as indeed are all Highlanders in their own way. 
They are contented with simple fare, and they ask no 
great variety, but what they have must be of its kind 
the best, and cooked precisely to their fancy. The well 
of which Macalpine invariably drank was the Lady's 
Well at Tullochgrue, the water of which was certainly 
delicious. It was brought to him twice a day in a 
covered wooden vessel, a cogue or lippie. 

There is no end to the stories of Macalpine's days 
was none rather, for old-world tales are wearing out in 
the Highlands as everywhere else, and since we, the old 
race, have had to desert the spot where our forefathers 
dwelt, there is less going to keep alive those feudal 
feelings which were concentrated on the Laird's family. 

Macalpine had by his first wife, Lady Mary, several 
sons James who succeeded him, Patrick who went into 
the army, married some one whose name I forget, and 
retired after some years of service to Tullochgrue, and 
John, surnamed Corrour, from having been born at the 
foot of the rock of that name up in the hill at Glen 
Ennich. The young cattle were always sent up in the 
summer to eat the fine grass in the glens, and the lady 
having gone up at this time to the sheiling (a mere but 

188 HIS SECOND MARRIAGE [1677-1743 

and ben which the herds inhabited), either to bleach her 
linens or for mere change of air, was suddenly taken ill 
in that wilderness. Without nurse or doctor she got as 
suddenly well, and brought her fine young son back 
with her to the Doune. The army was Corrour's 
destination of course ; he saw a good deal of service, 
and I believe died somewhere abroad, a distinguished 
officer, though he began life by fighting a running duel, 
that is, challenging two or three in succession, rather 
than acknowledge his ignorance. He had brought with 
him to the south, where he joined his regiment, a horse 
accoutred ; the horse died, and John Corrour went 
looking about for another to fit the saddle, which he 
insisted was the correct method of proceeding, and any 
one who questioned this had to measure swords with 
him. He had never seen asparagus ; some being offered 
to him he began to eat it at the white end, which 
provoking a laugh at the mess table, he laid his hand on 
that terrible sword, and declared his undoubted right to 
eat what best pleased him. It is said that to his" dying 
day he always put aside the tender green points of this 
vegetable. What marriages all the daughters of 
Macalpine made I never heard ; one I know married 
Cameron of Glenevis. A few years after the death of 
Lady Mary, when her family had long been grown up 
and settled, Macalpine, then in his 78th year, took as 
his second bride a handsome woman, the daughter of 
Grant of Tullochgorm, a respectable tacksman. She 
bore him four sons, who were younger than some of his 
grandsons, Colonel William Grant, Captain Lewis 
Grant, George who was a sailor (a very uncommon 
profession for a Highlander), and died at sea, and 
Alexander who died young. Colonel William was a 
good deal abroad, he had been in the West Indies, 
Canada, etc. ; he married in Ireland a widow of the 
name of Dashwood, who died childless, and the Colonel 
soon after retired to the Croft, where he lived happily, 
but not altogether respectably, to a good old age. His 
very handsome housekeeper, Jenny Gordon, bore him 
two children, our dearly-loved Annie and her brother 

1743-1814] COL. WILLIAM AND CAPT. LEWIS 189 

Peter Macalpine Grant, whom my father sent out to 
India as a cadet. Being the eldest living member of 
the family, Colonel William was tacitly elected to 
conduct my mother to the kirk on her arrival as a bride 
in Rothiemurchus, and on this occasion he dressed 
himself in full regimentals, and wore a queue tied with 
very broad black ribbon which nearly reached down to 
his chair when he was seated. With cocked hat beneath 
his arm, he led her by the point of a finger, and walking 
backwards on tiptoe up the aisle in the face of the 
congregation, relinquishing her with a bow so low as 
made her feel much smaller than the little man who 
thus honoured her. He was the man of fashion of the 
circle, excelling in those graces of manner which 
belonged to the beau of his day. He piqued himself 
on the amount of noise he made when rinsing out his 
mouth after dinner, squirting the water back into his 
finger-glass in a way that alarmed his neighbours. I 
have no recollection of the Colonel, he must have died 
when I was very young. Captain Lewis I remember 

He had fought at the siege of Gibraltar, and was I 
daresay an excellent officer, a little, handsome, dapper 
man, very gentlemanly, gay in manner, neat in habits, 
and with all the pride and spirit of his race. He had 
been given Inverdruie when my father resolved to make 
the Doune his own residence, and there I remember 
him from my earliest days till the autumn of 1814, 
when we lost him. His first wife, a Duff from 
Aberdeenshire, a pretty little old lady, had lived very 
unhappily with him, particularly since the death of their 
only child, a son, who had also gone into the army. 
They lived together for many years without speaking, 
though occupying the same rooms and playing back- 
gammon together every night; when either made a 
disputed move the adversary's finger was silently 
pointed to the mistake, no word was ever spoken. My 
mother and my aunts rather liked the Captain's lady. 
She was the picture of a little old gentlewoman, riding 
every Sunday to church in a green Joseph and black 

190 A JACOBITE LADY [1743-45 

bonnet, her pony led by a little maiden in a jacket and 
petticoat, plaid and snood. She also wore the hat 
perpetually, inside the house and out of it. The Joseph 
was the habit of ceremony, put on when she made her 
calls or dined with the Laird. She wore a sort of shirt 
beneath the Joseph with neatly plaited frills and ruffles. 
The Captain made a much happier second choice, Miss 
Grace Grant, Burnside, an elderly and a plain woman 
who had for some years kept house for her uncle, 
Macpherson of Invereshie, and whom the Captain had 
always liked and had toasted^ as was the fashion of his 
day, whenever after dinner he had proceeded beyond 
his second tumbler. She was installed at Inverdruie 
when we came back in 1812 to make our real home of 
Rothiemurchus ; and at the Croft, instead of the Colonel 
was the cousin James Cameron, the grandson of 
Macalpine, his mother having been the Lady Glenevis ; 
and he had married his cousin, a granddaughter of 
Macalpine, her father being Patrick Grant of Tulloch- 
grue, brother of Laird James. 

But we must return to Macalpine himself, who died 
at the age of ninety -two, of some sore in his toe which the 
doctors wished to amputate ; but the Laird resolved to 
go out of the world as he had come into it, perfect, so the 
foot mortified. His eldest son James succeeded him ; 
he was called the Spreckled Laird on account of being 
marked with the smallpox ; he had some of the stern- 
ness of his grandfather James, the Cruel Laird, and some 
of the talent of his father, for in very troubled times he 
managed to steer clear of danger and so transmit his 
property unimpaired. He had married highly, a 
Gordon, a relative of the Duke's, who brought him a 
little money, and a deal of good sense, besides beauty. 
She was of course a Jacobite, sent help to Prince 
Charlie, secreted her cousin Lord Lewis (the Lewie 
Gordon of the ballad) in the woods, and fed him and his 
followers secretly, setting out with her maid in the night 
to carry provisions up to the forest, which, while she 
was preparing, she persuaded the Laird were for other 
purposes. Mr Cameron showed us the very spot near 

1745-1813] MAC ALPINE'S WIDOW 191 

Tullochgrue where the rebels were resting when an 
alarm was given that the soldiers were in pursuit ; they 
had just time to go through the house at Tullochgrue, 
in at one door and out at the other, and so got off to a 
different part of the forest, before the little pursuing 
detachment came up to the fire they had been seated 
round. The Lady Jean, though so fast a friend, could 
be, Highland like, a bitter enemy. She was systematic- 
ally unkind to the widowed Lady Rachel, whose 
marriage indeed had been particularly disagreeable, not 
only to the family but also to the people ; and she upon 
every occasion slighted the four young sons of 
Macalpine's old age. Poor Lady Rachel, not the 
meekest woman in the world, bore this usage of her 
children with little placidity. Once after the service in 
the kirk was over she stepped up with her fan in her 
hand to the corner of the kirkyard where all our graves 
are made, and taking off her high-heeled slipper she 
tapped with it on the stone laid over her husband's 
grave, crying out through her tears, " Macalpine ! 
Macalpine ! rise up for ae half-hour and see me richted ! " 
She had indeed, poor body, need of some one to protect 
her if all tales be true of the usage she met with. Her 
sons, however, were honourably assisted by their half- 
nephews, and helped on in the world by them. 

Three sons and two daughters were born to the 
Spreckled Laird and the Lady Jean ; Patrick, called 
the White Laird from his complexion, always known 
to us as our uncle Rothie ; he married a daughter of 
Grant of Elchies, a good woman and a pretty one, 
though nicknamed by the people the " yellow yawling," 
their name for the yellow-hammer, because her very 
pale skin became sallow as her health gave way ; they 
had no children. The second son, William, the doctor, 
was my grandfather. Alexander, the third, and quite 
his mother's favourite, with his Gordon name, was a 
clergyman, married to an English Miss Neale ; she 
bore him seven sons, who all died before their parents. 
Grace, the eldest daughter, married Gumming of Logic, 
Henrietta, the younger, and a great beauty, married 


Grant of Glenmoriston ; both had large families, so that 
we had Highland cousins enough ; but of the elder set, 
all that remained when we were growing up were Mr 
Cameron, his wife, and her sister Mary, and our great- 
grand-uncle Captain Lewis. Mr Cameron, though only 
a lieutenant, had seen some service ; he had been at the 
battle of Minden, and had very often visited my 
grandfather in London. Poor Mrs Cameron was 
nearly blind, worn down too by the afflicting loss of all 
her children save one, a merchant in Glasgow. Miss 
Mary, therefore, managed the establishment, and kept 
the household from stagnating, as very likely would 
have been the case had the easy master and mistress 
been left to conduct the affairs of the Croft. 

The Dell was after a very different style, the largest 
farm of any, but tenanted only by the forester, a 
handsome, clever, active little man of low degree. He 
had gained the heart of one much above him, the very 
pretty daughter of Stewart of Pityoulish, a tacksman on 
the Gordon property, and of some account in the 
country ; the father made many a wry face before he 
could gulp down as son-in-law, the thriving Duncan 
Macintosh. The marriage turned out very happily ; 
she was another Mrs Balquhidder for management 
such spinnings, and weavings, and washings, and 
dyeings, and churnings, and knittings, and bleachings, 
and candle-makings, and soap-boilings, and brewings, 
and feather-cleanings, never are seen or even written of 
in these days, as went on in those without intermission 
at the Dell. And this busy guid-wife was so quietly 
gentle, so almost sleepy in manner, one could hardly 
suppose her capable of thinking of work, much less of 
doing an amount of actual labour that would have 
amazed any but a Scotchwoman. 

I have written these memoirs so much by snatches, 
never getting above a few pages done at a time since 
the idle days of Avranches, that I cannot but fear I 
often repeat myself, so many old recollections keep 
running in my head when I set about making notes of 
them, and not always in the order of their occurrence 

1812] LOCAL SOCIETY 193 

either. The two years and a half we spent in 
Rothiemurchus after giving up England don't always 
keep clear of the summer visits to the dear old place 
afterwards, and about dates I am sure I am sometimes 
incorrect, for there are no sort of memoranda of any 
kind to guide me, and with such a long life to look back 
through now, the later years passed in such different 
scenes, I can only hope to give you a general impres- 
sion of my youth in the Highlands. It was well we 
were so very happy within ourselves, had so large an 
acquaintance of all ranks of our own people, for except 
during the autumn months, when we were extremely 
in a bustle of gaiety, we had not much intercourse with 
any world beyond our own. Up the river there was 
Kinrara deserted ; Mr Macpherson Grant, afterwards 
Sir George, who had succeeded his uncle at Invereshie, 
never lived there ; Kincraig, where dwelt Mr and Mrs 
Mackintosh of Balnespick, we had little intercourse 
with ; they had a large family, he was a zealous farmer, 
and she a very reserved woman. Belleville and Mrs 
Macpherson were in England, Miss Macpherson in 
Edinburgh, Cluny and his wife nobody knew. Down 
the river Castle Grant was shut up, the old General 
Grant of Ballindalloch dead, and his heir, also the heir 
of Invereshie, we were never very cordial with, although 
he was married to the sister of Mrs Gillies. Having 
almost none, therefore, of our own degree to associate 
with, we were thrown upon the " little bodies," of whom 
there was no lack both up and down the Spey. They 
used to come from all parts ostensibly to pay a morning 
visit, yet always expecting to be pressed to stay to 
dinner, or even all night. The Little Laird, for so my 
father was called in the Gaelic, Ian Beag and his 
foreign lady were great favourites ; my mother, indeed, 
excelled in her entertainment of this degree of 
company, acted the Highland hostess to perfection, 
suited her conversation to her guests, leading it to such 
topics as they were most familiar with, as if she had 
primed herself for the occasion. Betty Campbell used 
to tell us that at first the people did not like their 
Little Laird bringing home an English wife, but when 


194 HOME PRODUCE [1812-13 

they saw her so pretty, so tall, so gentle, they softened 
to her ; and then when came the chubby boy (for I was 
not accounted of, my uncle Rothie's deed of entail 
cutting me and my sex off from any but a very distant 
chance of the inheritance), a fine healthy child, born at 
the Doune, baptized into their own faith, my mother 
soon grew into favour ; and when, in addition to all 
this, she set up wheels in her kitchen, learned to count 
her hanks, and dye her wool, and bleach her web, 
"young creature as she was," she perfectly delighted 
them. At this time in the Highlands we were so 
remote from markets we had to depend very much on 
our own produce for most of the necessaries of life. 
Our flocks and herds supplied us not only with the 
chief part of our food, but with fleeces to be wove into 
clothing, blanketing, and carpets, horn for spoons, 
leather to be dressed at home for various purposes, hair 
for the masons. Lint-seed was sown to grow into 
sheeting, shirting, sacking, etc. My mother even 
succeeded in common table linen ; there was the 
"dambrod" pattern, supposed to be the Highland 
translation of dame-board or backgammon, the " bird's 
eye," "snowdrop," "chain," and "single spot," beyond 
which the skill of neither old George Ross nor the 
weaver in Grantown could go. We brewed our own 
beer, made our bread, made our candles ; nothing was 
brought from afar but wine, groceries, and flour, wheat 
not ripening well so high above the sea. Yet we lived 
in luxury, game was so plentiful, red-deer, roe, hares, 
grouse, ptarmigan, and partridge; the river provided 
trout and salmon, the different lochs pike and char; 
the garden abounded in common fruits and common 
vegetables; cranberries and raspberries ran over the 
country, and the poultry-yard was ever well furnished. 
The regular routine of business, where so much was 
done at home, was really a perpetual amusement. I 
used to wonder when travellers asked my mother if 
she did not find her life dull. 

You will now be able to follow us in our daily 
rambles, to understand the places and people whom in 

1812-13] DAILY RAMBLES 195 

our walks we went to see. On rainy days we paced 
about the shrubbery, up the river to the Green or West 
Gate, over the Drum, back again to the White Gate 
and so home or out at the White Gate and along 
Tomnahurich to turn at the burn of Aldracardoch. In 
fine weather we wandered much farther afield ; when we 
went to Inverdruie we passed the burn at Aldracardoch, 
over which a picturesque wooden bridge for foot- 
passengers was thrown. The saw-mill and the miller's 
house were close to the road, too close, for the mill when 
going had often frightened horses fording the stream. 
The miller's name was again Macgregor, that dispersed 
clan venturing now to resume the name they had been 
constrained to drop. They had, as was usual on such 
occasions, assumed the patronymic of whatever clan 
adopted them, remembering always that loved one which 
was their own. James Macgregor's father had been 
known as Gregor Grant, so the son slid the easier back to 
that of right belonging to him. The road held on under 
high banks of fine fir trees, then came the lighter birch, and 
then a turn brought us to the Loist Mor, a swampy field of 
some size backed by the forest the view of which, as 
he drained it year by year, was so pleasant to the 
Captain that he had built himself a covered seat among 
the birch in front of it, which used to be the extent of 
his walk on a summer's evening. Ten minutes more 
brought us up a rugged brae and past the offices upon 
the moor at Inverdruie, in the midst of which bare 
expanse stood the very ugly house my uncle Rothie 
had placed there. It was very comfortable within, and 
the kind welcome, and the pleasant words, and the 
good cheer we found, made it always a delight to us to 
be sent there. 

The Captain and Mrs Grant lived in the low parlour 
to the left of the entrance, within which was a light 
closet in which they slept ; the hall was flagged, but a 
strip of home-made carpet covered the centre, of the 
same pattern as that in the parlour, a check of black and 
green. The parlour curtain was home-made too, of 
linsey-woolsey, red and yellow. A good peat fire 

196 INVERDRUIE [1812-13 

burned on the hearth ; a rug knit by Mrs Grant kept 
the fireplace tidy. A round mahogany table stood in 
the middle of the room ; a long mahogany table was 
placed against the wall, with a large japanned tray 
standing up on end on it ; several hair-bottomed chairs 
were ranged all round A japanned corner-cupboard 
fixed on a bracket at some height from the floor very 
much ornamented the room, as it was filled with the 
best tall glasses on their spiral stalks, and some china 
too fine for use ; a number of silver-edged punch-ladles, 
and two silver-edged and silver-lined drinking-horns 
were presented to full view on the lowest shelf, and 
outside upon the very top was a large china punch-bowl. 
But the cupboard we preferred was in the wall next the 
fire. It was quite a pantry; oatcakes, barley scones, 
flour scones, butter, honey, sweetmeats, cheese, and 
wine, and spiced whisky, all came out of the deep 
shelves of this agreeable recess, as did the great key of 
the dairy ; this was often given to one of us to carry to 
old Mary the cook, with leave to see her skim and whip 
the fine rich cream, which Mrs Grant would afterwards 
pour on a whole pot of jam and give us for luncheon. 
This dish, under the name of " bainne briste," or broken 
milk, is a great favourite wherever it has been intro- 
duced. In the centre of the ceiling hung a glass globe 
to attract the flies; over the chimney-piece was the 
Captain's armoury, two or three pairs of pistols safely 
encased in red flannel bags very dusty from the peats, 
several swords of different sorts in their scabbards 
crossed in various patterns, and a dirk or two. On the 
chimney-slab was a most curious collection of snuff-boxes 
of all sorts and shapes and sizes intermixed with a few 
large foreign shells. The Captain, in a wig, generally 
sat in a corner chair with arms to it, never doing 
anything that ever I saw. He was old and getting 
frail, eighty-five or eighty-six, I believe. Sometimes 
when he was not well he wore a plaid cloak, and a 
nightcap, red or white, made by his industrious wife in 
a stitch she called shepherd's knitting ; it was done with 
a little hook which she manufactured for herself out of 

1812-13] THE RIVER DRUIE 197 

the tooth of an old tortoise-shell comb, and she used to go 
on looping her home-spun wool as quick as fingers could 
move, making not only caps, but drawers and waistcoats 
for winter wear for the old husband she took such care 
of. She was always busy when in the house, and out 
of doors she managed the farm, and drove the Captain 
out in a little low phaeton I remember my father 
buying for them in London. Occasionally this first 
summer they dined with us, and then the old great- 
grand-uncle looked very nice in his best suit. Mrs 
Grant was really charming, full of Highland lore, kind 
and clever and good, without being either refined or 
brilliant, and certainly plain in person. She had a fine 
voice, and sang Gaelic airs remarkably well. My 
mother was extremely attached to this excellent woman, 
and spent many a morning with her ; we used to watch 
them convoying each other home after these visits, 
turning and returning upon the Tomnahurich road ever 
so many times as each lady neared her own premises, 
wondering which would be first to give in and take final 
leave of the other. 

It was a good mile beyond Inverdruie to the Dell, 
and we had to cross five streams of rapid running water 
to reach it, for into so many channels did the river 
Druie divide about a couple of miles below the bridge of 
Coylam. The intervening strips of land were all thickets 
of birch, alder, hazel, and raspberries, through which the 
well-trodden paths wound leading to the simple bridges 
of logs without a rail that crossed the water, a single 
log in all cases but one, where the span being very wide 
two were laid side by side. We skipped over them 
better than I at least could do it now, but poor Miss 
Elphick ! to get her over the one with two logs was no 
easy matter, the others she did not attempt for many a 
day unless assisted by some of the saw-miller's lads who 
obligingly waded the water by her side. One day we 
had a charming adventure on Druie side ;) just as we 
were preparing to cross the bridge an old woman in 
a high-crowned cap, a blanket plaid, and a bundle on 
her back, stepped on to it on the opposite side. We 

198 THE DELL FARM [1812-13 

were generally accompanied by an immense Newfound- 
land dog called Neptune, an especial favourite; he 
happened to be marching in front and proceeded to 
cross the log; on he stepped, so did the old woman, 
gravely moved the dog, and quietly came on the old 
woman, till they met in the middle. To pass was 
impossible, to turn back on that narrow footway equally 
so; there they stood, the old woman in considerable 
uncertainty. The dog made up his mind more quickly, 
he very quietly pushed her out of the way ; down she 
fell into the stream, and on he passed as if nothing 
extraordinary had happened. She was a good old 
creature, just as much amused as we were, and laughed 
as heartily, and she spread the fame of Neptune far and 
near, for everybody had the story before the day 
was over. 

The Dell was an ugly place, a small low house, only 
two or three stunted trees in the garden behind it, and 
a wide, sandy, stony plain all round, never a bit the 
more fertile for the regular inundation at the Lammas 
tide, when the Druie always overflowed its banks. 
Here the first lairds of Rothiemurchus had lived after a 
fashion that must have been of the simplest It then 
became the jointure house, and in it the Lady Jean 
passed her widowhood with a few fields and 100 a 
year. Mrs Macintosh was a tidy guid-wife, but 
nothing beyond the thriving farmer's helpmate. She 
and her husband lived mostly in the kitchen, and each 
in their own department did the work of a head servant. 
The cheer she offered us was never more than bread 
and cheese and whisky, but the oaten bread was so 
fresh and crisp, the butter so delicious, and the cheese 
not the ordinary skimmed milk curd, the leavings of 
the dairy, but the Saturday's kebbock made of the 
overnight and the morning's milk, poured cream and all 
into the yearnin tub ; the whisky was a bad habit, there 
was certainly too much of it going. At every house it 
was offered, at every house it must be tasted or offence 
would be given, so we were taught to believe. I am 
sure now that had we steadily refused compliance with 

1812-13] THE CROFP 199 

so incorrect a custom it would have been far better for 
ourselves, and might all the sooner have put a stop to so 
pernicious a habit among the people. Whisky-drinking 
was and is the bane of that country; from early 
morning till late at night it went on. Decent gentle- 
women began the day with a dram. In our house the 
bottle of whisky, with its accompaniment of a silver 
salver full of small glasses, was placed on the side-table 
with cold meat every morning. In the pantry a bottle 
of whisky was the allowance per day, with bread and 
cheese in any required quantity, for such messengers 
or visitors whose errands sent them in that direction. 
The very poorest cottages could offer whisky ; all the 
men engaged in the wood manufacture drank it in 
goblets three times a day, yet except at a merry- 
making we never saw any one tipsy. 

We sometimes spent an evening at the Dell. Duncan 
Macintosh played admirably on the violin, it was 
delightful to dance to his music. Many a happy hour 
have we reeled away both at the Doune and at the 
Dell, servants and all included in the company, with 
that one untiring violin for our orchestra. 

A walk to the Croft led us quite in another direction. 
We generally went to the White Gate, and through the 
new garden on to the Milltown muir past Peter the 
Pensioner's wooden house, and then climbing over the 
wooden railing wandered on among the birch woods till 
we reached the gate at the Lochan Mor ; that passed, 
we got into the fir wood, refreshed ourselves in the 
proper season with blackberries and cranberries, then 
climbing another fence re-entered the birch wood, in 
the midst of which nestled the two cottages called the 
Croft. The houses were not adjoining ; the upper one 
connected with the farm offices was the family dwelling, 
the lower and newer one at a little distance was for 
strangers. Old Mrs Cameron, who was by this time 
nearly blind, sat beside the fire in a bonnet and shawl 
as if ready for walking, talking little, but sighing a great 
deal. Miss Mary bustled about in her managing way 
as kind as her nature would let her be ; there was little 

200 THE CAMERONS [1812-13 

fear of any one getting a Saturday's kebbock at the 
Croft ! a little honey with a barley scone was the extent 
of Miss Mary's hospitality. They had always a good 
fire and a kind welcome for the Laird's children. We 
liked going to see them, and when Mr Cameron was 
not too busy with his farm and could stay within and 
play on the Jew's harp to us, we were quite happy. He 
played more readily and better at the Doune, the tender 
airs which suited the instrument affecting his poor 
melancholy wife, of whom he was passionately fond. 
He was a constant visitor at the Doune, dining with us 
at least three times a week, but no weather ever 
prevented his returning to the old wife at night ; well 
wrapped in his plaid he braved all weathers, walking his 
two or three miles in the dark winter weather as if he 
had been thirty-six instead of seventy-six. He was 
thoroughly a gentleman ; no better specimen of a 
Highlander and a soldier ever adorned our mountains. 
Old and young, gentle and simple, all loved Mr 
Cameron. He and Mrs Grant, Inverdruie, were two 
flowers in the wilderness ; other society could well be 
dispensed with when theirs was attainable. Almost all 
my stories of the ' olden time were learned either at 
Inverdruie or the Croft; they never wearied of telling 
what I never wearied of listening to. John Grant of 
Achnahatanich was also one of the chroniclers of the 
past, but he never interested me so much in his more 
fanciful stories as did my old aunt and my old cousin in 
their apparently accurate relations. They may have 
insinuated a little more pride of race than was exactly 
suited to the " opening day," yet it did no harm so far 
as I was concerned, and the younger ones had no turn 
for these antiquities. Jane in childhood was more taken 
up with the scenery than the people. 

The small farms in Rothiemurchus lay all about in 
various directions, most of them beautifully situated ; 
the extent of the old forest was said to be sixteen 
square miles, and it was reckoned that about ten more 
were growing up, either of natural fir, or my father's 
planted larch. The whole lay in the bosom of the 

1812-13] THE SCENERY 201 

Grampians in a bend of a bow, as it were, formed by 
the mountains, the river Spey being the string and our 
boundary. The mountains are bare, not very pictur- 
esquely shaped, yet imposing from their size. Many 
glens run up them all richly carpeted with sweet grass 
peculiarly suited to the fattening of cattle, one or two 
of these ending in a lake dropped at the bottom of a 
screen of precipices. One pass, that of Larrig, leads 
to Braemar, Lord Fife's country, with whose lands and 
the Duke of Gordon's ours march in that direction. 
Several rapid streams run through the forest, the 
smaller burnies rattling along their rocky beds to join 
the larger, which in their turn flow on to be lost in the 
Spey. The Luinach and the Bennie are quite rivers, 
the one rises north from Loch Morlich in Glenmore, 
the other south from Loch Ennich in Glen Ennich ; 
they join just above the bridge of Coylam and form the 
Druie, an unmanageable run of water that divides, 
subdivides, and sometimes changes its principal channel 
and keeps a fine plain of many acres in a state of stony 
wilderness. The vagaries of the Druie were not alone 
watched by the crofters on its bank with anxiety. 
There was a tradition that it had broken from its old 
precincts on the transference of the property to the 
Grants from the Shaws, that the Grants would thrive 
while the Druie was tranquil, but when it wearied of its 
new channel and returned to its former course, the 
fortune of the new family would fail. The change 
happened in 1829, at the time of the great Lammas 
floods so well described, not by our pleasant friend 
Tom Lauder, but by a much greater man, Sir Thomas 
Dick Lauder of Fountainhall, the Grange, and Relugas, 
author of Lochandhu and the Wolf of Badenoch. 
We used to laugh at the prediction I 

Besides the streams, innumerable lochs lay hid 
among the pine trees of that endless forest. On one 
of these was the small island completely occupied by 
the ruins of the Comyn fortress, a low long building 
with one square tower, a flank wall with a door in it 
and one or two small windows high up, and a sort of 


house with a gable end attached, part of which stood 
on piles. The people said there was a zigzag causeway 
beneath the water, from the door of the old castle to 
the shore, the secret of which was always known to 
three persons only. We often tried to hit upon this 
causeway, but we never succeeded. 

A great number of paths crossed the forest, and one 
or two cart-roads; the robbers' road at the back of 
Loch-an-Eilan was made by Rob Roy for his own 
convenience when out upon his cattle raids, and a 
decayed fir tree was often pointed out as the spot 
where Laird James, the Spreckled Laird, occasionally 
tied a bullock or two when he heard of such visitors in 
the country ; they were of course driven away and 
never seen again, but the Laird's own herds were not 
touched. It has been the fashion to father all moss- 
trooping throughout the Highlands on Rob Roy, but 
there was a Macpherson nearer to us, and a Mackintosh 
equally clever at the gathering of gear Mackintosh of 
Borlam, of whom I shall have more to tell anon. 

In a country of such remarkable beauty, and with 
so many objects of interest to add to the mere pleasure 
of exercise, our long walks became delightful even to 
such a Cockney as Miss Elphick ; she was a clever 
woman, and soon came to appreciate all the worth of 
her new situation. She studied up to it, and though an 
innate vulgarity never left her, the improvement in her 
ideas was very perceptible. She corresponded occa- 
sionally with her only surviving sister, and regularly 
with a Mr Somebody, a builder ; when she became 
more sociable she used to read to us her letters descrip- 
tive of the savage land she had got into, and what was 
worse for us, she recounted her love adventures. No 
beauty, no heiress, ever had been the heroine of more 
romances than had fallen to the share of this little 
bundle of a body, by her own account. It never 
entered our young heads to doubt the catalogue. Mr 
Somebody's replies did not come very frequently from 
the beginning, neither were they very long, and by 
degrees they ceased She did most of the writing. I 

1812-13] FORMER MINISTERS 203 

remember her description of her first kirk Sunday was 
cleverly and truthfully and most amusingly told ; it 
must have astonished a Londoner. 

The unadorned but neat small kirk is very different 
now, when hardly any one sits in it, from what it was 
then, when filled to overflowing. It was much out of 
repair; neither doors nor windows fitted, the plaster 
fallen from the roof lay in heaps about the seats, the 
walls were rough, the graveyard overgrown with nettles, 
even the path from the gate was choked with weeds 
in many places. Far from there being any ceremony 
about this Highland style of worship, there was hardly 
even decency, so rude were all the adjuncts of our 
"sermon Sunday." Mr Stalker was dead the good 
man who drank so many cups of tea, whom my wicked 
aunt Mary used to go on helping to more, cup after 
cup, till one evening they counted nine, always pressing 
another on him by repeating that his regular number 
was three ! It was a luxury that probably in those dear 
times the poor Dominie could seldom afford himself at 
home, for he had a wife and children, and his income 
must have been economically managed to bring them 
all through the year. He had $ from Queen Anne's 
bounty, a house and garden and a field and 10 from 
my father, and he taught the school. My mother got 
his wife 4. additional for teaching sewing, which they 
hailed as a perfect godsend. Well, he was gone, and 
he had not been replaced, so we had sermon only every 
third Sunday in our own kirk ; the devout attended the 
neighbouring parishes on the blank days, some of the 
kirks being at no great distance, speaking Highlandly, 
two to five or six miles. Good Mr Peter of Duthil was 
gone, he had died in the winter; his widow and her 
school removed to Inverness, and another Grant had 
succeeded him, for of course the patronage was very 
faithfully kept in the clan. The new minister was a 
perfect contrast to his predecessor ; he was fat, thickset, 
florid, with a large cauliflower wig on his large head. 
Within the head was more learning than maybe half a 
dozen professors could boast of among them, but it was 


not in the divinity line ; his turn was acutely satirical ; 
he had been both a poet and an essayist, what he was 
now it would be hard to say; he seemed to have no 
particular employment; his wife managed the glebe, 
the parishes managed themselves, and he certainly gave 
himself little trouble about his sermons. What he did 
in Gaelic I cannot say; in English he had but two, 
although he altered the texts to give them an air of 
variety ; the text did not always suit the discourse, but 
that was no matter. The sermons were by no means 
bad, though from constant repetition they grew tire- 
some ; it was lucky we had six weeks to forget each 
of them in. One was against an undue regard for the 
vanities of life, and always contained a sentence on the 
lilies of the valley, and Solomon's glory; the other 
was on charity. A violent Tory, detesting the House 
of Hanover, yet compelled to pray for the reigning 
family, he cut the business as short as possible " God 
bless the King, and all the Royal Family; as Thou 
hast made them great make them GOOD," with great 
emphasis, and then he hurried on to more agreeable 
petitions. The kirk was very near our house, on a 
height in the field below the Drum, prettily sheltered 
by planting, and commanding from the gate a fine view 
of the valley of the Spey. The bell tolled from time to 
time, and as the hour for the service approached the 
crowd began to pour in from either side, the white caps 
and the red plaids gleaming through the birch woods 
on the bank between the kirk field and the Drum, 
through which the path lay. Our farm people moved 
up from the low grounds to join them, and such of the 
house servants as understood the Gaelic ; the rest 
followed us an hour or more later to the English portion 
of the ceremony. We generally walked from the house 
along the flow-dyke by the only piece left of the back- 
water, under the shade of natural alder to the right and 
a thriving plantation of larch to the left ; a small gate 
painted green opened on the road to the West lodge ; 
we had to cross it into the field and then step up the 
long slope to the kirkyard. My father opened the 

1812-13] THE KIRK 205 

gate to let my mother pass ; Miss Elphick next, we 
three according to our ages followed, then he went in 
himself. We sat in a long pew facing the pulpit, with 
two seats, one in front for the laird, and one behind for 
the servants. There was a wooden canopy over it with 
a carved frieze all round and supporting pillars flat but 
fluted, and with Ionic capitals like moderate rams' 
horns. Macalpine's seat was at the end, nothing to 
mark it but his scutcheon on a shield ; the Captain, his 
surviving son, sat there. There were one hundred and 
sixty years between the birth of that father and the 
death of that son, more than five generations. 

The stir consequent on our entrance was soon 
hushed, and the minister gave out the psalm ; he put a 
very small dirty volume up to one eye, for he was near- 
sighted, and read as many lines of the old version of the 
rhythmical paraphrase (we may call it) of the Psalms of 
David as he thought fit, drawling them out in a sort of 
sing-song. He stooped over the pulpit to hand his 
little book to the precentor, who then rose and calling 
out aloud the tune "St George's tune," "Auld 
Aberdeen," " Hondred an' fifteen," etc. began himself 
a recitative of the first line on the key-note, then 
taken up and repeated by the congregation ; line by 
line he continued in the same fashion, thus doubling 
the length of the exercise, for really to some it was no 
play serious severe screaming quite beyond the 
natural pitch of the voice, a wandering search after the 
air by many who never caught it, a flourish of difficult 
execution and plenty of the tremolo lately come into 
fashion. The dogs seized this occasion to bark (for 
they always came to the kirk with the family), and the 
babies to cry. When the minister could bear the din 
no longer he popped up again, again leaned over, 
touched the precentor's head, and instantly all sound 
ceased. The long prayer began, everybody stood up 
while the minister asked for us such blessings as he 
thought best : with closed eyes it should have been, 
that being part of the " rubric " ; our oddity of a parson 
closed but one, the one with which he had squinted at 

206 THE CONGREGATION [1812-13 

the psalm-book, some affection of the other eyelid 
rendering it unmanageable. The prayer over, the 
sermon began ; that was my time for making observa- 
tions, " Charity " and " Solomon's Lilies " soon requir- 
ing no further attention. Few save our own people 
sat around ; old grey-haired rough-visaged men that 
had known my grandfather and great-grandfather, 
black, red, and fair hair, belonging to such as were in 
the prime of life, younger men, lads, boys all in the 
tartan. The plaid as a wrap, the plaid as a drapery, 
with kilt to match on some, blue trews on others, blue 
jackets on all. The women were plaided too, an 
outside shawl was seen on none, though the wives wore 
a large handkerchief under the plaid, and looked 
picturesquely matronly in their very high white caps. 
A bonnet was not to be seen, no Highland girl ever 
covered her head; the girls wore their hair neatly 
braided in front, plaited up in Grecian fashion behind, 
and bound by the snood, a bit of velvet or ribbon 
placed rather low on the forehead and tied beneath the 
plait at the back. The wives were all in homespun, 
home-dyed linsey-woolsey gowns, covered to the chin 
by the modest kerchief worn outside the gown. The 
girls who could afford it had a Sabbath day's gown of 
like manufacture and very bright colour, but the throat 
was more exposed, and generally ornamented with a 
string of beads, often amber ; some had to be content 
with the best blue flannel petticoat and a clean white 
jacket, their ordinary and most becoming dress, and 
few of these had either shoes or stockings ; but they all 
wore the plaid, and they folded it round them very 

They had a custom in the spring of washing their 
beautiful hair with a decoction of the young buds of 
the birch trees. I do not know if it improved or hurt 
the hair, but it agreeably scented the kirk, which at 
other times was wont to be overpowered by the com- 
bined odours of snuff and peat reek, for the men snuffed 
immensely during the delivery of the English sermon ; 
they fed their noses with quills fastened by strings to 


the lids of their mulls, spooning up the snuff in quanti- 
ties and without waste. The old women snuffed too, 
and groaned a great deal, to express their mental 
sufferings, their grief for all the backslidings supposed 
to be thundered at from the pulpit ; lapses from faith 
was their grand self-accusation, lapses from virtue were, 
alas ! little commented on ; temperance and chastity 
were not in the Highland code of morality. 

The dispersion of the crowd was a pretty sight ; the 
year I write of dreamed of no Free Kirk doings ; the 
full kirk nearly filled the field with picturesque groups, 
so many filing off north, south, east, and west, up the 
steep narrow road to the Drum, by the path through 
the bank of birchwood to the garden gate, along the 
green meadow beneath the guigne trees to the Doune 
farm offices the servants by the green gate under the 
crooked beech tree to the house ; the family, after 
shaking hands and speaking and bowing and smiling 
all round, returning by the flow-dyke and the alders. 
The minister dined with us, and thus ended our 
Sunday, but not our acquaintance with him. We got 
to like this eccentric man, his head was so well filled, 
and his heart, in spite of the snarl, so kindly, that old 
and young we took to him, and often prevailed on him 
to spend a few days with us. He was a disappointed 
man, equal to a very different position, and he was lost 
in the manse of Duthil, far from any mind capable of 
understanding his, and not fitted to go actively through 
the duties of his calling. 

Far different, yet no truer or better divine, in one 
sense of the word, was his neighbour, our prime 
favourite, the minister of Abernethy, known through 
all the country as Parson John. He was a little merry 
man, fond of good eating, very fond of good drinking, 
no great hand at a sermon, but a capital hand at the 
filling or the emptying of a bowl of punch. He was no 
scholar ; his brother of Duthil used to wonder how he 
ever got through the University, he had so little skill 
in the humanities of learning. For good practical 
sense, honesty of purpose, kindness of heart, tender 


feeling combined with energetic action, Parson John 
could hardly have been surpassed. He found his 
parish a nest of smugglers, cattle-stealers, idlers, every 
sort of immorality rife in it. He left it filled by the 
best-conducted set of people in the country. He was 
all the more respected for the strictness of his discipline, 
yet a sly joke against the minister was much relished 
by his flock. 

There was no very deep religious feeling in the 
Highlands up to this time. The clergy were reverenced 
in their capacity of pastors without this respect extend- 
ing to their persons unless fully merited by propriety 
of conduct. The established form of faith was deter- 
minately adhered to, but the kittle questions^ which had 
so vexed the Puritanic south, had not yet troubled the 
minds of their northern neighbours. Our mountains 
were full of fairy legends, old clan tales, forebodings, 
prophecies, and other superstitions, quite as much 
believed in as the Bible. The Shorter Catechism and 
the fairy stories were mixed up together to form the 
innermost faith of the Highlander, a much gayer and 
less metaphysical character than his Saxon-tainted 

The other clergyman of our acquaintance was Mr 
Macdonald of Alvie, our nearest neighbour of the 
three. He was a clever worldly man, strictly decorous, 
not unfriendly, though most careful in his management, 
particular in ascertaining the highest price of meal, 
his stipend depending on the fluctuation of the 
market, the ministers being paid in kind, so many 
"bolls of victual" meaning corn. He preached well, 
rather at length, and made very fervent tiresome 
prayers and immensely long graces, and of all people 
in the world he was detested most heartily by our 
friend the minister of Duthil ; his very name was an 
abomination, why we could never find out. He had 
been twice married, in neither case happily, both wives 
having become invalids. It never struck any one that 
the situation of his manse, nearly surrounded by water, 
could have affected the health of women not naturally 


strong. The second Mrs Macdoriald was dying at this 
time. We often sent her delicacies, but never saw 
her; indeed we rarely saw any of the parsons' wives, 
they seemed to keep quietly at home, like Mrs 
Balquhidder, "making the honey." 

We heard plenty, however, of the wife of Parson 
John, an excellent, managing woman, who kept her 
husband in great order. They had a large family, the 
bolls of victual were not many, and the glebe lands 
were small. She had to keep her eyes open, and water 
the ash tree betimes in the morning. One of her most 
prolific sources of income was her dairy. She piqued 
herself on what she made of it, and was accused by 
the minister of a very economical use of its produce 
in the house, in order to send the more to market. 
Now, of all simple refreshments Parson John loved 
best a drink of fine milk, well coated with cream ; this 
luxury his wife denied him, the cream must go into 
the churn, skimmed milk was fittest for the thirsty. 
In spite of her oft-repeated refusals and her hidden 
key she suspected that the minister contrived to visit 
the dairy, sundry cogues of set milk at times having the 
appearance of being broken into. She determined to 
watch ; and she had not long to wait before she detected 
the culprit in the act, met him face to face in the passage 
as he closed the door. She charged him stoutly with 
his crime, he as stoutly denied it, hard words passed ; 
but the poor minister ! he had forgotten to take ofT his 
hat, he had put his mouth to the cogue, the brim of 
the hat had touched the cream there it was fringed 
with her treasure before her eyes, an evidence of his 
guilt, and he denying it ! What Highland wife could 
bear such atrocity ? " Man," said the daughter of 
Dalachapple (ten acres of moor without a house on 
it), " how daur ye, before the Lord 1 and ye his graceless 
minister ! see there 1 " He told the story himself, with 
remarkable humour, over the punch-bowl. 

The Captain had another story of him ; his sermons 
were mostly practical, he was unskilled in scholastic 
learning, and sometimes when he had gone his round 


210 INCIDENT AT A WAKE [1812-13 

of moral duties he would, for lack of matter, treat his 
congregation to a screed from the papers. They were 
stirring times, revolutions and battles by sea and land. 
The minister was a keen politician, his people by no 
means unwilling to hear the news, although they very 
earnestly shook their heads after listening to it. False 
intelligence was as largely circulated then as now, it 
came and it spread, and then it was to be contradicted. 
The parson gave it as he got it, and one Sunday 
delivered a marvellous narrative of passing events. 
Finding out during the week his error, he hastened 
honestly to correct it, so, on the following Sunday, 
after the psalm and the prayer and the solemn giving 
out of the text, he raised his hands and thus addressed 
his flock, "My brethren, it was a' lees I told ye last 
Sabbath day." How the minister of Duthil enjoyed 
this story ! 

The next incident that comes back on memory is 
the death of old George Ross, the henwife's husband ; 
he caught cold, and inflammation came on ; a bottle of 
whisky, or maybe more, failed to cure him, so he died, 
and was waked, after the old fashion, shaved and partly 
dressed and set up in his bed, all the country-side 
collecting round him. After abundance of refreshment 
the company set to dancing, when, from the jolting of 
the floor, out tumbled the corpse into the midst of the 
reel, and away scampered the guests screaming, and 
declaring the old man had come to life again. As the 
bereaved wife had not been the gentlest of helpmates, 
this was supposed to be " a warning " of what was not 
declared; all that was plain was that the spirit of the 
deceased was dissatisfied ; many extraordinary signs 
were spoken of, as we heard from my mother's maid. 

Before winter our cousin Patrick Grant of Glen- 
moriston died suddenly, while walking on the banks 
of his own beautiful river, of disease of the heart. I 
learnt a lesson from this event; some one told it to 
me, and I, very sorry, for Patrick had been kind to us, 
went straight to the drawing-room with my sad news. 
My mother immediately went into hysterics, was 


carried to bed, and lost her baby; all which was 
represented to me by my father as a consequence of 
my want of consideration. I had no nerves then (like 
the famous Duchess of Marlborough), and could not 
comprehend the misery caused by their derangement. 

Our neighbour Belleville was the son of Ossian, the 
Mr Macpherson who pretended to translate Ossian, and 
who made a fine fortune out of the Nabob of Arcot's 
debts. Ossian Macpherson, Highland to the very 
heart, bought land round his birthplace, and built the 
fine house on the heights near Kingussie, which for 
many a year looked so bleak, and bare, and staring, 
while the planting on the hillsides was young. He 
had four children. To his eldest son, James, our friend, 
he left his large estates. The second, Charles, he sent 
in the Civil Service to India, where he died. His two 
daughters he portioned handsomely. Our Belleville, 
who had also been in India, returned to take possession 
of his Highland property about the year 1800. He 
married the summer my sister Mary was born, and 
brought a young Edinburgh wife home to the two 
London sisters. Juliet Macpherson, the younger sister, 
very pretty and very clever, soon married Dr, after- 
wards Sir David, Brewster. Anne lived through many 
a long year with her brother and his somewhat despotic 
wife until he died, and she herself became the Lady 
Belleville. Our Belleville inherited many vexations. 
Ossian had got entangled in some law-suits, and his 
son knowing little of business left too much to his law- 
agents, and so it happened that after living handsomely 
for some years, he found it necessary to shut up 
Belleville, let the farm, and remove to the neighbour- 
hood of London, where they watched the unravelling 
of their tangled skeins. Almost all their difficulties 
were over in this year of which I am writing. They 
had returned to Belleville, and from this time they 
were our kindest neighbours, living like ourselves, 
winter and summer, in their Highland home. We 
became naturally dependent on the resources of each 
other ; never a shadow of disagreement came between 

212 HARVEST HOMES [1812-13 

us. The intimacy had the most favourable effect upon 
us young people ; Belleville was thoroughly a gentleman, 
his tastes were refined, his reading extensive, his kind- 
ness unfailing. There was a harshness in the character 
of Mrs Macpherson that we could have wished to 
soften ; her uncompromising integrity was applied 
sternly to weaker mortals. Her activity, her energy, 
and her industry, all admirably exerted in her own 
sphere of duties, rose up against any tolerance of 
the shortcomings in these respects of less vigorous 
temperaments. She measured all by her own rigid 
rules, her religious feelings partaking of this asperity. 
She was own sister to old Mause in the strength and 
the acrimony of her puritanism. I used so to wish her 
to say to herself, " God be merciful to me, a sinner," but 
she had no idea that there was a doubt of her being 
justified. She was right in principle, though ungentle, 
almost unchristian, in practice. This fault apart, a 
better woman never existed, anxious to help all around 
her of all degrees. She had a clear understanding, 
good quick abilities, and a warm heart. We owed 
much in many ways to Mrs Macpherson, and we ended 
the year with her, my father and mother, Jane and I, 
spending the Christmas New style with these good 
neighbours. We ourselves, who did everything High- 
land fashion, kept the Old style at home. 

We had three harvest-homes to keep in Rothie- 
murchus : a very small affair at the Croft ; luncheon in 
the parlour for us children only, and a view of the barn 
prepared for the dinner and dance to the servants. It 
was a much merrier meeting at the Dell ; my father 
and mother and all of us, stuffed into or on the carriage, 
drove there to dinner, which was served in the best 
parlour, my father at the head of the table, Duncan 
Macintosh at the foot, and those for whom there was 
not room at the principal board went with at least equal 
glee to a side table. There was always broth, mutton 
boiled and roasted, fowls, muir-fowl three or four pair 
on a dish apple-pie and rice pudding, such jugs upon 
jugs of cream, cheese, oatcakes and butter; thick 

1812-13] AT THE DELL 213 

bannocks of flour instead of wheaten bread, a bottle of 
port, a bottle of sherry, and after dinner no end to the 
whisky punch. In the kitchen was all the remains of 
the sheep, more broth, haggis, head and feet singed, 
puddings black and white, a pile of oaten cakes, a kit of 
butter, two whole cheeses, one tub of sowans, another of 
curd, whey and whisky in plenty. The kitchen party, 
including any servants from house or farm that could be 
spared so early from the Croft, the Doune, or Inverdruie, 
dined when we had done, and we ladies, leaving the 
gentlemen to their punch, took a view of the kitchen 
festivities before retiring to the bedroom of Mrs 
Macintosh to make the tea. When the gentlemen joined 
us the parlour was prepared for dancing. With what 
ecstasies we heard the first sweep of that masterly bow 
across the strings of my father's Cremona ! The first 
strathspey was danced by my father and Mrs Macintosh ; 
if my mother danced at all, it was later in the evening. 
My father's dancing was peculiar a very quiet body, 
and very busy feet, they shuffled away in double quick 
time steps of his own composition, boasting of little 
variety, sometimes ending in a turn-about which he 
imagined was the fling ; as English it was altogether as 
if he had never left Hertfordshire. My mother did 
better. She moved quietly in Highland matron fashion, 
" high and disposedly " like Queen Elizabeth and Mrs 
Macintosh, for however lightly the lasses footed it, 
etiquette forbade the wives to do more than " tread the 
measure." William and Mary moved in the grave style 
of my mother; Johnnie without instruction danced 
beautifully ; Jane was perfection, so light, so active, and 
so graceful ; but of all the dancers there, none was 
equal to little Sandy afterwards Factor the son of 
Duncan Macintosh, but not of his wife. 

Some years before his marriage the forester had been 
brought into our country by what was called the Glen- 
more Company, a set of wood-merchants from Hull, 
who had bought the forest of Glenmore from the Duke 
of Gordon for, I think, 20,000. They made at least 
double off it, and it had been offered to my uncle Rothie, 

214 SANDY MACINTOSH [1812-13 

wood and mountain, glen and lake, for 10,000, and 
declined as a dear bargain. Mr Osborne, the gentleman 
superintending the felling of all this timber, brought 
Duncan Macintosh from Strathspey as head of the 
working gangs, and left him in that wild isolated place 
with no companion for the whole winter but a Mary, of 
a certain age, and not well favoured. The result was 
the birth of Sandy, a curious compound of his young 
handsome father and his plain elderly mother. It was 
this Mary who was the cook at Inverdruie, and a very 
good one she was, and a decent body into the bargain, 
much considered by Mrs Macintosh. There was no 
attempt to excuse, much less to conceal her history ; in 
fact, such occurrences were too common to be com- 
mented on. She always came to the Dell harvest-home, 
and after the more stately reels of the opening of the 
dance were over, when the servants and labourers and 
neighbours of that class came by turns into the parlour, 
Mary came among the others, and I have seen her 
figuring away in the same set with Mr Macintosh, his 
good wife looking on with a smile : too pretty and too 
good she was to fear such rivalry. At her marriage she 
had brought little Sandy home and as much as lay in 
her power acted a mother's part by him ; her children 
accused her even of undue partiality for the poor boy 
who was no favourite with his father ; if so, the seed 
was sown in good ground, for Sandy was the best son 
she had. It was a curious state of manners ; I have 
thought of it often since. 

We were accustomed to dance with all the company, 
as if they had been our equals ; it was always done. 
There was no fear of undue assumption on the one side, 
or low familiarity on the other ; a vein of good-breeding 
ran through all ranks influencing the manners and 
rendering the intercourse of all most particularly 
agreeable. About midnight the carriage would take 
our happy party home. It was late enough before the 
remainder separated. 

The Doune harvest-home was very like that at the 
Dell, only that the dinner was at the farm kitchen and 


the ball in the barn, and two fiddlers stuck up on tubs 
formed the orchestra. A sheep was killed, and nearly a 
boll of meal baked, and a larger company invited, for 
our servants were numerous and they had leave to invite 
relations. We went down to the farm in the carriage 
drawn by some of the men, who got glasses of whisky 
apiece for the labour, and we all joined in the reels for 
the hour or two we stayed, and drank punch made 
with brown sugar and enjoyed the fun, and felt as little 
annoyed as the humbler guests by the state of the 

We had no other ploy till Christmas Eve, when we 
started for Belleville. Even now, after all these years 
of a long life, I can bring to mind no house pleasanter 
to visit at. At this time the drawing-room floor had 
not been refurnished ; they lived in their handsome 
dining-room and the small library through it. The 
company, besides ourselves, was only one or two of the 
young Clarkes and a " Badenoch body," but we had so 
kind a welcome ; Belleville was a host in a hundred, 
Mrs Macpherson shon far more in her own house than 
she did in any other. Her lively conversation, her 
good music, and her desire to promote amusement 
made her a very agreeable hostess. We young people 
walked about all the mornings, danced and laughed all 
the evenings till the whist for the elders began, Belleville 
liking his rubber ; and what particularly delighted Jane 
and me, we sat up to supper, a sociable meal, one we 
never saw at home where the dinner was late. At 
Belleville they dined at five o'clock, and as the card- 
playing was seldom over before midnight, the appearance 
of a well-filled tray was not mistimed. Roasted 
potatoes only, fell to our share, and a bit of butter with 
them. We were quite satisfied, so much so, indeed, that 
we privately determined, when talking over our happy 
evenings up at the top of that large house in one of the 
attic rooms no amount of peats could warm, that when 
we had houses of our own we would introduce the 
supper tray, and roasted potatoes should, as at Belleville, 
be piled on the centre dish. 

216 CHRISTMAS, OLD STYLE [1812-13 

Miss Macpherson, who liked all of us, was in great 
good-humour during our visit. We remained till after 
the New Year, and then returned home to make 
preparations for the passing of our Christmas-time Old 
style the season of greatest gaiety in the Highlands. 
It was kept by rejoicings and merry-makings amongst 
friends, no religious services being performed on any 
day but Sunday. 


CHRISTMAS, Old style, 1813, Belleville and Mrs Mac- 
pherson spent with us. They were easily entertained. 
She worked and gossiped with my mother all the 
mornings, till the regular hour for her duty walk, a task 
she performed conscientiously as soon as it was too 
dark to thread her needle. He had one or two strolls 
during the day, and plenty of old plays and newspapers 
to read. In the evenings they enjoyed our merry 
games and a little music, before we young ones were 
sent to bed, as much as they did the rubber of whist 
afterwards. We had two dinner-parties for our guests. 
Balnespick and Mrs Mackintosh were with us one day ; 
she was a really beautiful woman, fair, tall, slight, and 
graceful, but very still and silent. How little did we 
dream then that one of the sons of this couple would be 
married to a granddaughter of my father's. Balnespick 
was a clever man, very useful in the neighbourhood, 
respected by all ranks. He had married the beauty of 
Inverness, and was very proud of her. Her sister ran 
off from a Northern Meeting, which my father and aunt 
Mary attended, with a young subaltern of the regiment 
in garrison at Fort George, a crime quite excusable in 
him, for she was just as handsome a brunette as her 
sister was a lovely blonde; and the stolen wedding 
turned out, romance-like, quite a hit the poor 
lieutenant was the heir of Rokeby. Balnespick's sister 
was married to William Cameron, the only remaining 
child of our dear old cousins at the Croft. 



The great event of the Christmas time was the 
Floaters' ball. As the harvest-home belonged to the 
farm, this entertainment was given to the forest all 
engaged in the wood manufacture, their wives and 
families, being invited. The amusements began pretty 
early in the day with a game at " ba," the hockey of the 
low country, our Scotch substitute for cricket. It is 
played on a field by two parties, who toss a small ball 
between them by means of crooked sticks called clubs. 
The Highlanders are extremely fond of this exciting 
game, and continue it for hours on a holiday, exhibiting 
during its progress many feats of agility. There were 
always crowds of spectators. Our people kept up the 
game till dark, when all the men above a hundred 
went to dinner in the barn, a beef and some sheep 
having been killed for them. The kitchens of both 
house and farm had been busy for a couple of days 
cooking for the entertainment. The women, as they 
arrived, were taken into the grieve's house for tea, a 
delicate attention, fully appreciated. We delighted in 
the Floaters' ball, so large a party, so many strangers, 
some splendid dancers from Strathspey, the hay-loft, 
the straw-loft, and the upper floor of the threshing-mill 
all thrown open en suite ; two sets of fiddlers playing, 
punch made in the washing-tubs, an illumination of 
tallow dips ! It is surprising that the floors stood the 
pounding they got ; the thumping noise of the many 
energetic feet could have been heard half a mile off. 
When a lad took a lass out to dance, he led her to her 
place in the reel and " pree'd her mou " kissed her 
before beginning, she holding up her face quite frankly 
to receive the customary salute, and he giving a good 
sounding smack when the lass was bonnie. 

The number of people employed in the forest was 
great. At this winter season little could be done beyond 
felling the tree, lopping the branches, barking the log, 
while the weather remained open, before the frost set 
in. Most of this work indeed was done in the autumn, 
and was continued while practicable. This was not a 
severe winter, but it set in early. We had a deep fall 


of snow, and then a degree of frost felt only among the 
mountains, putting a stop while it lasted to all labour. 
It was not unpleasant, for it was dry, and the sun shone 
brightly for the few hours of daylight, and after the first 
slap in the face on going out, sharp exercise made our 
walks very enjoyable. We bounded on over the hard 
ground for miles, indeed the distances people are able 
to walk in weather of this sort would not be believed by 
those who had not tried it. Five weeks of frost and 
snow brought us over the worst of the winter, and then 
came a foretaste of spring which set us all to work 
again. The spade and the plough were both busy, and 
in the wood the great bustle of the year began. 

The logs prepared by the loppers had to be drawn 
by horses to the nearest running water, and there left 
in large quantities till the proper time for sending them 
down the streams. It was a busy scene all through the 
forest, so many rough little horses moving about in 
every direction, each dragging its load, attended by an 
active boy as guide and remover of obstructions. The 
smack of the whip used to sound quite cheerful in those 
otherwise solitary spots, and when we met, the few 
Gaelic words interchanged seemed to enliven us all. 
This driving lasted till sufficient timber was collected to 
render the opening of the sluices profitable. Formerly 
small saw-mills had been erected wherever there was 
sufficient water-power, near the part of the forest where 
the felling was going on, and the deals when cut were 
carted down to the Spey. It was picturesque to come 
suddenly out of the gloom of the pine-trees, on to a 
little patch of cultivation near a stream with a cottage 
or two, and a saw-mill at work, itself an object of 
interest in a rude landscape. A concentration of labour 
was, however, found to be more advantageous to the 
wood-merchant ; they were finding out that it answered 
better to send the logs down nearer to the Spey by 
floating them, than the deals by carting them. The 
prettily-situated single saw-mills were therefore gradu- 
ally abandoned, and new ones to hold double saws built 
as wanted, within a more convenient distance from the 


banks of the river where the rafts were made. In order 
to have a run of water at command, the sources of the 
little rivers were managed artificially to suit floating 
purposes. Embankments were raised at the ends of 
the lakes in the far-away glens, at the point where the 
different burnies issued from them. Strong sluice- 
gates, always kept closed, prevented the escape of any 
but a small rill of water, so that when a rush was 
wanted the supply was sure. 

The night before a run, the man in charge of that 
particular sluice set off up the hill, and reaching the spot 
long before daylight opened the heavy gates; out 
rushed the torrent, travelling so quickly as to reach the 
deposit of timber in time for the meeting of the wood- 
men, a perfect crowd, amongst whom it was one of our 
enjoyments to find ourselves early in the day. The 
duty of some was to roll the logs into the water ; this 
was effected by the help of levers like Harry Sand- 
ford's snowball, as Johnnie screamed out the first time 
we took him with us. The next party shoved them off 
with long poles into the current, dashing in often up to 
the middle in water when any case of obstruction 
occurred. They were then taken in charge by the most 
picturesque group of all, the youngest and most active, 
each supplied with a clip, a very long pole thin and 
flexible at one end, generally a young tall tree ; a sharp 
hook was fixed to the bending point, and with this, 
skipping from rock to stump, over brooks and through 
briers, this agile band followed the log-laden current, 
ready to pounce on any stray lumbering victim that was 
in any manner checked in its progress. There was 
something graceful in the action of throwing forth the 
stout yet yielding clip, an exciting satisfaction as the 
sharp hook fixed the obstreperous log. The many light 
forms springing about among the trees, along banks 
that were sometimes high, and always rocky, the shouts, 
the laughter, the Gaelic exclamations, and above all, the 
roar of the water, made the whole scene one of the most 
inspiriting that either actors or spectators could be 
engaged in. 


One or two of these streams carried the wood 
straight to the Spey, others were checked in their 
progress by a loch ; when this was the case, light rafts 
had to be constructed, and paddled or speared over by 
a man standing on each raft. The loch crossed, the 
raft was taken to pieces, some of the logs left at a saw- 
mill, the rest sent down the recovered stream to the 
Spey; there the Spey floaters took charge of them; 
our people's work was done. 

The Spey floaters lived mostly down near Ballin- 
dalloch, a certain number of families by whom the 
calling had been followed for ages, to whom the wild 
river, all its holes and shoals and rocks and shiftings, 
were as well known as had its bed been dry. They 
came up in the season, at the first hint of a spate, as a 
rise in the water was called. A large bothy was built 
for them at the mouth of the Druie in a fashion that 
suited themselves; a fire on a stone hearth in the 
middle of the floor, a hole in the very centre of the roof 
just over it where some of the smoke got out, heather 
spread on the ground, no window, and there, after their 
hard day's work, they lay down for the night, in their 
wet clothes for they had been perhaps hours in the 
river each man's feet to the fire, each man's plaid 
round his chest, a circle of wearied bodies half-stupefied 
by whisky, enveloped in a cloud of steam and smoke, 
and sleeping soundly till the morning. They were a 
healthy race, suffering little except in their old age from 
rheumatism. They made their large rafts themselves, 
seldom taking help from our woodmen, yet often giving 
it if there were an over-quantity of timber in the runs. 

Mr Macintosh, who often dined at the Doune, 
usually contrived to come the day before a log-run, our 
particular delight, so we were sure of appearing in the 
very height of the business before the noontide rest. 
When the men met in the morning they were supposed 
to have breakfasted at home, and perhaps had had their 
private dram, it being cold work in a dark wintry dawn, 
to start over the moor for a walk of some miles to end in 
standing up to the knees in water; yet on collecting, 


whisky was always handed round ; a lad with a small 
cask a quarter anker on his back, and a horn cup in 
his hand that held a gill, appeared three times a day 
among them. They all took their "morning" raw, 
undiluted and without accompaniment, so they did the 
gill at parting when the work was done ; but the noon- 
tide dram was part of a meal. There was a twenty 
minutes' rest from labour, and a bannock and a bit of 
cheese taken out of every pocket to be eaten leisurely 
with the whisky. When we were there the horn cup 
was offered first to us, and each of us took a sip to the 
health of our friends around us, who all stood up. 
Sometimes a floater's wife or bairn would come with a 
message ; such messenger was always offered whisky. 
Aunt Mary had a story that one day a woman with a 
child in her arms, and another bit thing at her knee, 
came up among them ; the horn cup was duly handed 
to her, she took a " gey guid drap " herself, and then 
gave a little to each of the babies. "My goodness, 
child," said my mother to the wee thing that was 
trotting by the mother's side, " doesn't it bite you ? " 
" Ay, but I like the bite," replied the creature. 

There were many laughable accidents during the 
merry hours of the floating; clips would sometimes 
fail to hit the mark, when the overbalanced clipper 
would fall headlong into the water. A slippery log 
escaping would cause a tumble, shouts of laughter 
always greeting the dripping victims, who good- 
humouredly joined in the mirth. As for the wetting, 
it seemed in no way to incommode them ; they were 
really like water-rats. Sometimes the accident was 
beyond a joke. I know we were all sobered by 
one that befell us. Just below the bridge on the 
Loch-an-Eilan road, over the burn that flows out of 
the loch, a small basin of water had been allowed to 
form during a run, for the purpose of holding together 
a large quantity of logs to prevent them from going 
down too quickly, as from this point the stream was 
conveyed by a narrow conduit of wood, across the 
Milltown muir, on down a steep bank into the first of 

1813] AN ACCIDENT 223 

a set of miniature lochs, concealed by the birch wood 
on one side and the fir trees on the other, known as 
the Lochans. This conduit, called the Spout, was in 
particular favour with us, as along its course the fun 
was always at its height, it was so difficult in that rush 
of water to keep the great hulking logs in order, and 
send them singly on in regular succession. One would 
rise up here over a lazy leader, another there ; above, 
two or three would mount up on end and choke the 
passage, stopping all progress and wasting the water. 
The clips were busy here, the men jumping about 
hooking this log and sending it forward, hooking that 
log and keeping it back, screaming to each other 
as they skipped over the Spout. 

All of a sudden, Mary, not in general an active 
child nor given to exertion of any kind, made a spring 
and cleared the conduit. The shouts of applause which 
greeted this daring action inspired her afresh, and 
laughing she prepared to spring back. This time she 
miscalculated the distance and fell plump into the 
stream, along which she was carried more rapidly than 
we could follow her. Did she escape being crushed by 
the logs she must have been drowned in that rushing 
torrent before being tossed down the steep bank into 
the loch. 

The presence of mind of one person often saves 
a life ; to save Mary's it required the presence of mind 
of two. 

A tall Murdoch Murray stood by a narrow outlet 
with his clip. He had the wisdom to draw one log 
quite across the mouth of the outlet so that none could 
move, and thus all danger of her being followed by one 
and so crushed was at an end. A lad, whose name I 
forget he died, poor fellow, of consumption, carefully 
tended by us all while he lived leaped from his place, 
waited for her a little lower down, seized her 
clothes, and dragged her out She was insensible. 
Mr Macintosh then came up, carried her into a saw- 
miller's house close by it was Sandy Colley's had 
her undressed, rubbed, laid in the bed wrapped in warm 


blankets, and when she opened her eyes gave her a 
glass of whisky. Jane, as the sensible one of the party, 
was sent home to order up dry clothes, without going 
near my mother. Johnnie and I sat by Mary, doing 
whatever Duncan Macintosh told us, and Miss Elphick 

As soon as it was known that the "bonny burd" was 
living, grand cheering rent the air, and a dram all 
round, an extra, was given in honour of her rescuers. 
That dram was the Highland prayer, it began, accom- 
panied, and ended all things. The men wanted to 
make a king's cushion and carry her home, but Mr 
Macintosh thought it better for her to walk. We were 
abundantly cheered on setting forth, and well scolded 
on getting home, though none of us but poor little 
Mary herself had any hand in the accident. 

A more tragical event than most happily this 
"vaulting ambition" of poor Mary's had turned out, 
had occurred a year or two before at this same season. 
The only child of a poor widow, Christian Grant, a fine 
young man named Allan, had charge of the Loch 
Ennich sluice-gates. A quantity of timber being 
wanted at Druie mouth for the Spey floaters who had 
come up to make their rafts, a run was determined on, 
and this lad was sent up to the Glen to open the sluice. 
It was a wild night, wind and hail changing to snow, 
and he had eleven or twelve miles to go through the 
forest, full of paths, and across the heath that was 
trackless. Poor old Christy 1 she gave him a hot 
supper, put up a bannock and a little whisky for him, 
and wrapped his plaid well round him. She looked 
after him as he left the house in the driving sleet ; such 
risks were common, no one thought about them. Early 
in the morning down came the water, the weather had 
taken up, and the floating went merrily on, but Allan 
did not return. He had reached the loch, that was 
plain ; where then had he wandered ? Not far. When 
evening came on and no word of him, a party set out 
in search, and they found him at his post, asleep 
seemingly, a bit of bannock and the empty flask beside 


him. He had done his duty, opened the water-gate, 
and then sat down to rest. The whisky and the storm 
told the remainder. He was quite dead. 

The mother never recovered her reason ; the shock 
brought on brain fever, and that left her strangely 
excited for a while. Afterwards she calmed, was always 
harmless, sometimes restless, but never either wiser or 
sillier than the half-simple state in which she existed 
to extreme old age. She had always been a tidy body, 
and had been called in often by Betty Campbell to 
help at the farm when there was a press of business. 
Once or twice at company times she had assisted in the 
scullery at the House. 

The first sensible action she did after her long 
months of darkness was to arrive at the Doune one 
morning and set herself to pluck the fowl. Of course 
every one was kind to her, so she came the next day, 
and from that time never failed to arrive regularly 
when the family was at home, about the breakfast hour, 
and remain until after dinner when the kitchen was put 
in order. She would never stay all night, preferring 
her little cabin on Druie side, to which she returned 
cheerfully except on stormy nights, when the maids 
said she would shake her head sadly, and sometimes 
let fall tears. She never mentioned her son. 

My mother did not let her want for anything ; 
clothes, tea, snuff, all she wished for was supplied 
whether we were at home or absent, till the good- 
hearted Duchess of Bedford succeeded us at the Doune, 
when she took charge of Christy, gave her just what 
she had been accustomed to, and reinstated her as head 
of the scullery. I can see her now, with her pale 
anxious face, her linsey gown, check apron, and white 
cap bound by a black ribbon, seated beside the old 
japanned clock in our cheerful kitchen, at some of her 
easy work. She had very little English, just enough 
to say " my dear " or " my jewel " when any of us 
children passed. She always rose when my mother 
entered and kissed her hand, sometimes saying 
" bonnie " when she saw how white it was. Poor 


old Christy! We used to work for her, helping the 
maids to make her caps and aprons and handkerchiefs. 
It was Johnnie's privilege to carry to her the week's 
supply of snuff. 

After this misfortune the men were sent up the 
hill in pairs, for it had not come alone. The shepherds 
had their mournful tales to tell as well as the floaters, 
and here is one of them. 

The young people of whom I have to speak were 
not of Rothiemurchus. They lived up in Glen Feshie, 
a great way from our march, and they had not long 
been married. He was either a small farmer, or the 
son of one, or merely shepherd to a more wealthy man, 
I am not sure which, but his business was to mind 
a large flock that pastured on the mountains. During 
the summer when their charge strayed up towards the 
very summit of the high range of the Grampians, the 
shepherds lived in bothies on the hill, miles from any 
other habitation, often quite alone, their collie dog their 
only companion, and with no provisions beyond a bag 
of meal. This they generally ate uncooked, mixed with 
either milk or water as happened to suit, the milk or 
water being mostly cold, few of these hardy moun- 
taineers troubling themselves to keep a fire lighted in 
fine weather. This simple food, called brose, is rather 
relished by the Highlanders ; made with hot water or 
with good milk they think it excellent fare ; made with 
beef broo the fat skimmings of the broth pot it is 
considered quite a treat. Beef brose is entertainment 
for any one. The water-brose must be wholesome ; 
no men looked better in health than the masons, who 
ate it regularly, and the shepherds. These last came 
down from their high ground to attend the kirk some- 
times, in such looks as put to shame the luxurious 
dwellers in the smoky huts with their hot porridge and 
other delicacies. 

In the winter the flocks feed lower down, and the 
shepherd leaves his bothy to live at home, but not at 
ease. A deep snow calls him forth to wander over 
miles of dreary waste, in case of drifts that overwhelm, 

1813] HIS YOUNG WIDOW 227 

or cold that paralyses. In spring there come the early 
lambs, on whose safety depends the profit of the sheep- 
owner, and our Highland springs retain so much of 
winter in them that the care of a flock at this harsh 
season entails about the hardest of all lives on labouring 

It was at this critical time, at the beginning of a 
heavy snowstorm, that our young husband departed on 
his round of duty. 

The wife was preparing for her first baby ; she was 
also busy with her wheel, the first work of a newly- 
married notable Highland girl being the spinning and 
the dyeing of a plaid for her husband. She baked the 
bread, she trimmed her fire, and she busked her house, 
then took her wheel, and by the light of a splinter of 
quick fir laid on a small projecting slab within the 
chimney, she wore away the long dark hours of that 
dreary winter's night. Ever as the storm lulled for a 
while, she bent to listen for the voice she expected at 
the door, which, poor young thing, she was never to 
hear again, for he never returned from those wild 
mountains. They sought him for days; no trace of 
him could be discovered. 

When the snow melted, and the summer flowers 
burst into bloom, party after party set out in quest of 
his remains, all unsuccessfully. It was not till late in 
autumn, when our gamekeeper was on the Brae-Riach 
shooting grouse, that he saw on a shelf of rock midway 
down a precipice a plaided figure. It was all that was 
left of the missing shepherd, and his collie lay dead 
beside him. Deceived by the snow he had wandered 
miles away from his own ground, and must have died 
from exhaustion after a fall on to this sheltered spot. 

His widow was past all knowledge of his fate ; her 
anxiety had brought on premature childbirth, fever 
ensued, and though she recovered her strength, her 
mind was gone. She lived in the belief of the speedy 
return of her husband, went cheerfully about her usual 
work, preparing things for him, going through the same 
routine as on the day she lost him ; baking, sweeping, 

228 THE SPEY FLOAT [1813 

putting on fresh peats, and ending with her wheel by 
the side of the clean hearth in the evening. She would 
show her balls of yarn with pride to the kind neighbours 
who looked in upon her, and the little caps she was 
trimming for the baby that was lying alongside the 
bones of its father in the kirkyard. 

Sometimes in the evening, they said, she would look 
wearily round and sigh heavily, and wander a little in 
her talk, but in the morning she was early up and busy 
as ever. She was never in want, for every one helped 
her ; but though she was so much pitied, she was in 
their sober way much blamed. The Highlanders are 
fatalists ; what is to be, must be ; what happens must 
be borne patiently. We must " dree our weird," all of 
us, and 'tis " a flying in the face of Providence " to break 
the heart for God's inflictions. They feel keenly too ; 
all their affections are warm and deep ; still, they are 
not to be paraded. A tranquil manner is a part of 
their breeding, composure under all circumstances 
essential to the dignity of character common to all the 
race. How would a matron from Speyside be 
astonished, scandalised, at the impulsive nature and 
consequent exhibitions of her reputed kindred in dear 
Ireland ! 

I have wandered very far away from the floating. 
The forest work did not end with the arrival of the logs 
at their different destinations. Those that went 
straight to Spey were seized on by the Ballindalloch 
men, bored at each end by an auger, two deep holes 
made into which iron plugs were hammered, the plugs 
having eyes through which well-twisted wattles were 
passed, thus binding any given number together. 
When a raft of proper size was thus formed it lay by 
the bank of the river awaiting its covering ; this was 
produced from the logs left at the saw-mills, generally 
in the water in a pool formed to hold them. As they 
were required by the workmen, they were brought 
close by means of the clip, and then by the help of 
levers rolled up an inclined plane and on to the 
platform under the saw ; two hookb attached to cables 


kept the log in its place, the sluice was then opened, 
down poured the water, the great wheel turned, the 
platform moved slowly on with the log, the saw-frame 
worked up and down, every cut slicing the log deeper 
till the whole length fell off. The four outsides were 
cut off first ; they were called " backs," and very few of 
them went down to Garmouth ; they were mostly used 
at home for country purposes, such as fencing, out- 
offices, roofing, or firing ; out-houses even were made 
of them. The squared logs were then cut up regularly 
into deals and carted off to the rafts, where they were 
laid as a sort of flooring. Two rude gears for the oars 
completed the appointments of a Spey float. The men 
had a wet berth of it, the water shipping in, or, more 
properly, over, at every lurch ; yet they liked the life, 
and it paid them well. Then they had idle times great 
part of the year, could live at home and till their little 
crofts in their own lazy way, the rent being made up by 
the floating. 

Near Arndilly there was a sunken rock difficult 
sometimes to pass ; this furnished a means of livelihood 
to several families living on the spot. It was their 
privilege to provide ropes, and arms to pull the ropes, 
and so to help the floats through a rapid current 
running at high floods between this sunken rock and 
the shore. The dole they got was small, yet there was 
hardly more outcry raised in Sutherland when the 
Duke wanted his starving cottars to leave their turf 
huts on the moors and live in comfortable stone houses 
by the sea, than my father met when some years later 
he got leave to remove this obstacle by blasting. 

The oars were to my mother the most important 
items of the whole manufacture. She had discovered 
that in the late Laird's time, when the sales of timber 
were very small a dozen of rafts in each season, worth 
a few hundreds annually the oars had been the 
perquisite of the Lady. A little out of fun, partly 
because she had begun to want money sometimes, she 
informed good Mr Steenson that she meant to claim 
her dues. He used to listen quietly, and answer 


blandly that next time he came up her claims should 
be remembered, but never a penny she got. 

Mr Steenson fell ill and died. A new wood-agent 
had to be appointed, and he being an old friend, my 
mother applied to him with more confidence. This 
new agent was Dalachapple, Mr Alexander Grant of 
Dalachapple, nephew to the thrifty wife of Parson John. 
He not only listened to my mother about the oar 
money, but he acted in accordance with the old usage, 
and with a delicacy quite amusing. In a mysterious 
manner, and only when she was alone, did he approach 
her with her perquisite in the form of a bank-note 
folded small. The oars were sold for half-a-crown 
apiece, a pair to each float, and one season he gave her 
upwards of forty pounds ; this was long before the great 
felling. She opened her eyes wide, and certainly found 
the money a great comfort, though it was of little use 
in the Highlands ; all we did not produce ourselves was 
ordered in large quantities on credit and paid for by 
drafts on a banker. We had no shops near us but one 
at Inverdruie, kept by a Jenny Grant, who made us pay 
very dear for thread and sugar-plums. Our charities 
were given in the form of meal or clothing ; fuel every 
one had in plenty for the mere gathering, the loppings 
all through the forest were turned to no other account. 
They made a brilliant fire when well dried, owing to the 
quantity of turpentine in the fir timber ; still, those who 
could afford it laid in a stock of peats for the winter. 

My father had an objection to peat, and would not 
burn it up at the house even in the .kitchen. Coals 
were not thought of; they could be had no nearer than 
Inverness, were dear enough there, and the carriage 
thence thirty-six miles would have made them very 
expensive ; yet the wood fires were very costly ; the 
wood itself was of no value, but it had to be carted 
home, cross-cut by two men, split up by two more, and 
then packed in the wood-sheds. It was never-ending 
work, and must have been very costly when we lived 
the year round at the Doune. In the huge kitchen 
grate, in the long grates with dogs in them made 

1813] PEAT FIRES 231 

expressly for the purpose of supporting the billets, 
the cheerful wood fires were delightful ; but in our part 
of the house, where my mother in her English tidiness 
had done away with the open hearth and condemned us 
to small Bath grates, we were really perished with cold ; 
three or four sticks set on end, all that the small space 
would hold, either smouldering slowly if wet, or blazing 
up to the danger of the chimney if dry, gave out no 
heat equal to warm the frozen fingers and toes during 
a Highland winter. We held a council in the school- 
room and decided on taking steps to make ourselves 
more comfortable. 

On returning from our walks we visited the farm 
offices, and there from the famous peat-stacks provided 
for the farm-servants we helped ourselves, each 
possessing herself of as much as she could carry. We 
got old John Mackintosh to chop our long billets in 
two, and thus we contrived a much better fire ; the 
grate was not suitable, but we made the best of it 

When we told our dear old great-grand-uncle of our 
bright thought, he started up, angry, but not with us ; 
and forthwith sent down for special schoolroom use two 
carts of the fine hard peats from the far-off famous 
Rhinruy Moss; they burned almost like coal, having 
but one fault, very light red ashes. We made some 
dusters, enjoyed our fires, and had to keep good watch 
over our store of fuel to prevent any from being stolen 
by the kitchen, never failing daily to take an accurate 
measurement of our own peat-stack, built neatly by the 
Captain's men in one of the wood-houses. And so our 
winter glided away. 

In the spring, as soon as the hill was open, my 
father went to London to attend his duties in Parlia- 
ment. My mother then changed our arrangements 
a little. We did not get up till seven, dark of course at 
first, but a whole hour gained on a cold morning was 
something. Miss Elphick, Jane, and I breakfasted with 
her at half-past nine. We used to hear her go 
downstairs punctually ten minutes sooner, opening her 


bedroom door at the end of the passage with a deal of 
noise, and then making a resounding use of her pocket- 
handkerchief our signal call, we said. 

We all dined with her at four o'clock. After that 
there were no more lessons ; we passed the evening 
beside her reading and working. The work was the 
usual shirting, sheeting, towelling, etc., required in the 
family, the stock of linen of all kinds being kept up to 
the statutory number by a regular yearly addition ; the 
whole was then looked over, some mended to serve 
a time, some made up for the poor, the rest sorted into 
rag-bundles constantly wanted where accidents among 
the labourers were frequent. 

We read through all Miss Edgeworth's works, 
Goldsmith's histories, most of the Spectator, and a few 
good standard novels from the dusty shelves in the 

On Saturday nights we were allowed a fire in the 
barrack-room, after which indulgence my hair was 
admitted to shine more brightly ! After dinner, in an 
hour we had to ourselves, Jane and I generally 
read to the "little ones." Mary was hammering 
through Parent's Assistant herself, two pages a day for 
her lesson, enough as she slowly spelt her way along 
the lines, but not enough to interest her in the stories, 
so she was pleased to hear them to an end with 
Johnnie. We often had to repeat a favourite tale, so 
much approved were Lazy Laurence, The Little 
Merchants, The Basket Woman, and others. When we 
demurred to going over them again we were so assailed 
by our listeners that we began Evenings at Home, 
leaving out "the Tutor, George, and Harry." What 
excellent books for children ! Yet it was not while I 
was young that I was fully aware of the value of the 
library chosen for us. It was when I was again 
reading these old favourites to childish listeners 
to you, my own dear children that the full extent of 
their influence struck me so forcibly. They have not 
been surpassed by any of our numerous later authors 
for the young. 

1813] A FIRE AT THE CROFT 233 

This was a very happy time for us, even though 
William was away. We saw him only at midsummer, 
the journey being too long for his Christmas holidays 
to be spent with us ; he spent them always with the 

One April morning Grace Grant, the greusiach's 
daughter, the pretty girl who waited on us, drew aside 
the white curtains of my little bed and announced that 
Mr Cameron's two houses were in ashes. A fire had 
broken out in the night at the Croft in the new house 
occupied by Mr and Mrs William Cameron ; it had 
spread to the stack-yard and offices, and even to the 
upper house in which the old people lived, and when 
my mother reached the scene for she had been roused 
by the news, had got up, dressed, and walked off those 
two or three miles, she who seldom went farther than 
her poultry-yard she found the homeless party on the 
green watching the destruction of their property. 
About half of this news was true ; the fire had broken 
out and the lower house was burnt to the ground, some 
of the corn-stacks were destroyed, and one young horse 
was injured, but the rest of the stock and the better 
part of the crop and the old cottage were safe. My 
mother ^/gone up, but before her bedtime, the tidings 
having been brought to her while she was reading as 
usual after we had left her, and she brought back with 
her the two eldest of William Cameron's sons, who 
lived with us for the next eighteen months, there being 
no room for them at home. 

The loss to their parents was great; all the 
handsome Glasgow furniture was gone, as well as 
sundry little valuables saved by poor Mrs Cameron 
from the wreck of her city splendour. It was melan- 
choly to see the blackened ruins of that little lovely 
spot ; much of the offices had fallen, and the heaps of 
scorched timber and broken walls we had to pick our 
way through on our first visit made us feel very sad. 
The old people received us as if nothing had happened. 
Miss Mary was neither more nor less fussy, more nor 
less cross than usual. Mrs Cameron sat in her chair by 

234 CROCHALLAN [1813 

the fire in her bonnet and shawl, and with her green 
shade over her eyes just as she had ever done; a 
monument of patience in idleness, sighing in her 
accustomed manner, no change whatever in her. I am 
certain she had been equally immovable on the night of 
the fire. Mr Cameron talked to us cheerfully of all 
matters going, the fire among the rest, as if he and his 
had no particular concern in it, except when he raised 
his fine head to the sky in humble gratitude that there 
had been no lives lost ; he even played the Jew's harp 
to us; "Lochaber," which we called his own tune, for 
he came from that part of the country, and " Crochallan," 
beautiful " Crochallan," which we considered more 
peculiarly our own, for we had all been sung to sleep by 
it in our infancy. I had learned from Mr Cameron to 
pronounce the Gaelic words with the pretty, soft 
Lochaber accent, so different from the harsh, guttural 
Strathspey. Years after at Hampstead, my uncle 
Frere, who remembered my childish crooning of it 
when he had his fever, made me sing it again not once, 
but for ever; and one day that Francis Cramer was 
there my uncle made me sing it to him ; never was 
musician more delighted ; over and over again was it 
repeated till he had quite caught this lovely Gaelic air, 
and when he went away he bade me farewell as 
" Crochallan Mavourgne," little suspecting he was 
addressing a young lady as the favourite cow of one 
Allan ! 

My father, immediately on his return from London, 
began to plan the present pretty two-storeyed cottage, 
as I may well remember, for I had to make all the 
drawings for it architecturally from his given dimen- 
sions; inside and outside working plans, and then a 
sketch of its future appearance in the landscape. I 
was so unskilful, so awkward, and he was so very 
particular, required all to be so neatly done, so accurate 
and without blemish of any sort, that I could not tell 
how many sheets of paper, how many hours of time, 
how many trials of temper were gone through before 
the finished specimens were left to be tied up with other 

1813] THE SCHOOL 235 

equally valuable designs, in a roll kept in the lower 
closed book-shelves to the left of the library fireplace, 
docketed by his saucy daughter " Nonsense of Papa's." 

The new house was placed a little in advance of the 
old in a situation very well chosen. It looks particularly 
well from aunt Mary's favourite walk round the 
Lochans. My father cut down some trees at one point 
to give a full view of it, and we made a rough seat 
there, as we did in many a pretty spot besides, where a 
summer hour could be dreamed away by lake, or 
stream, or bank, or brae, and mountain boundary, the 
birch leaves and the heather scenting the air. 

They were stupid boys those sons of William 
Cameron. James, the elder, was a real lout, there was 
no making anything of him, though Caroline the 
French girl, true to the coquettish instincts of her 
nation, tried all her fascinations on him, really toiled to 
elicit a single spark of feeling from this perfect log ; 
in vain. Jane was more successful with the second boy, 
Lachlan. Both brothers went daily to the school at 
the bridge of Coylam, the common parish school, and a 
very good one, where all the boys in the place were 
taught, and could learn Latin if they wished. The 
present master piqued himself on his English. He came 
from Aberdeen, and was great in the English classics ; 
whole pages from our best poets, first read out by him 
and then learnt by heart by the pupils, formed part of 
the daily lessons of the more advanced classes. 
Lachlan Cameron, taught privately by Jane, quite 
electrified the master by his fine delivery of the 
Deserted Village at the rehearsal previous to the 

My father examined the school ; I don't know 
what there was my father did not do ; so busy a man 
could hardly have been met with. He did his work 
well while the whim lasted for that particular employ- 
ment ; the misfortune was that there were too many 
irons in the fire; fewer of them he would have 
managed perfectly. Poor Sir Alexander Boswell, 
Bozzy's clever son, wrote a brilliant Tory squib once 

236 SAWYERS 1 STUDIES [1813 

ridiculing the Edinburgh Whigs, and my father's share 
of it ended thus "Laird, lawyer, statesman, J. P. 
Grant in short'' 

We always went with my father and mother to the 
examination of the school no short business ; my 
father was methodical, no flash pupil could have 
imposed on him. Backwards and forwards he cross- 
examined, requiring the reasons for all things, much as 
is the National system now, but as was not practised 
then. I have heard him say the boys were fair scholars, 
but beaten by the girls. The Latin class was respect- 
able, the arithmetic very creditable, the recitations had 
of course to be applauded, and Lachlan Cameron was 
rewarded for action as well as emphasis Jane having 
John Kembled him to the utmost of her ability by 
receiving a handsome copy of Goldsmith's works. 

The prizes were wisely chosen, indeed almost any 
standard work would have been appreciated. Mrs 
Gillies, during a visit to us at the circuit time, taking a 
walk with my mother one morning, went to rest a bit 
in a saw-mill ; the saw was at work grinding slowly up 
and down, while the log it was slitting moved lazily on, 
the man and boy reading till they were wanted. The 
boy's book was Cornelius Nepos in the original, the 
man's Turner's Geography. 

These forensic displays of Lachlan had turned our 
thoughts back to our nearly forgotten theatricals. We 
amused ourselves in the shrubbery re-acting several of 
our favourite scenes in Macbeth. My father coming 
upon us one day proposed that, as we were so well 
acquainted with Shakespeare in tragedy, we should try 
his comedy, and if we liked he would prepare for us 
his own favourite As You Like It. We were delighted. 
He set to work, and leaving out objectionable passages 
and unnecessary scenes, made the prettiest three-act 
drama of this pretty play. We learned our parts out 
among the birch-wooding on the Ord Bain, selecting for 
our stage, when we had made progress enough to arrive 
at rehearsals, a beautiful spot upon a shoulder of the 
hill not far from Kinapol, about a couple of miles from 

1813] THEATRICALS 237 

the Doune, so that we had a good walk to it all along 
the river-side, through the planting. 

Still, though charmed with Rosalind and Celia, we 
could not bear giving up our older friends ; we therefore 
persuaded my father to curtail Macbeth, and allow us to 
act both, before him and a select audience, as soon as 
William should come home ; we could not have got on 
without him, he and Jane being our stars. Little fat 
Miss Elphick, too, must play her part; she had 
gradually abandoned the strict disciplinarian style, and 
had become in many respects as latitudinarian as her 
Celtic-nurtured pupils could desire. In this case, more- 
over, personal vanity had a large share in her gracious 
demeanour ; she imagined herself handsome, graceful, 
and an actress Mrs Jordan beautified ! and from 
having heard tier read she had caught, my mother said, 
some of the tone of that wonderful woman's style. 

The part she chose in As You Like It was Rosalind, 
and a vulgar Rosalind she made, exaggerating the very 
points an elegant mind would have softened, for 
Rosalind is somewhat more pert than even a "saucy 
lacquey " need have been, a little forward, and not over 
delicate. Mrs Harry Siddons refined her into the most 
exquisite piece of gay impulsive womanhood, a very 
Princess of romance. Poor Miss Elphick brought her 
up from the servants' hall. We thought her queer- 
looking in her doublet and hose, but Belleville, who was 
a good judge of such matters, declared that she was 
finely limbed, had a leg fit for the buskin, with an eye 
and a voice that might have made her fortune had she 
followed the profession. She was very much pleased 
with herself, took a deal of trouble about her dress and 
her hair a crop and the placing of her hat and 
feather, and she knew her part perfectly. 

Jane was a gentlemanly Orlando, William a first-rate 
Jaques ; he looked the character and felt it, for in his 
young days William was cynical, turned his nose up 
habitually, very different from his later pleased tran- 
quillity. I did both the Duke and Celia, was a stiff 
Duke and a lively Celia ; we gave her no lover, left out 

238 AS YOU LIKE IT [1813 

all that. But the actor in this pretty comedy was Mary 
dull, listless Mary; she chose the part herself, and 
would have no other, and anything better than her 
Touchstone my father and Belleville declared they had 
never seen; her humour, her voice, her manner, her 
respectful fun to her ladies, her loving patronage of 
Audrey (Anne Cameron), the whole conception of the 
character was marvellous in a child of ten years of age ; 
and she broke upon us suddenly, for at all our 
rehearsals she had been stupid. She had acted like a 
lump of lead, she never knew her part, every other word 
she was prompted, and when my father tried to put 
some life into her by reading to her as he wished her to 
speak, he made little of it ; but on the night of the play 
her acting was perfect. Johnnie said it was the port 
wine, a large jug of which mixed with water stood in our 
green-room (the upper part of the thrashing-mill), and 
was dispensed in proper quantities by Miss Elphick 
between the acts. Johnnie affirmed that of this jug 
Touchstone had more than his share, as he, in his 
capacity of third lord attending on the forest Duke, had 
opportunities of discovering during his retirement behind 
the fanners, as he was seldom required on the stage. 
The other lords were represented by Jane Macintosh, 
James and Lachlan Cameron, and Caroline ; by the 
help of caps and feathers and long boar-spears they 
grouped remarkably well. 

We grew so fond of our comedy, Macbeth was less 
thought of. We acted it first, Jane and William 
surpassing themselves. Mary was Banquo, Miss Elphick 
the king, Mary was Hecate, and the witches and the 
company at the banquet were the same as did the forest 
lords, for we had each to play many parts. They were 
obliged to make me Lady Macbeth, a part I don't 
think it possible I could have done well, though my 
father took infinite pains with me. They said I looked 
handsome in black velvet and point lace a dress the 
real Lady Macbeth would have opened her eyes at. 
The people called out " briach, briach " (pronounced 
bre-ach) when, thus arrayed and with a long train, the 

1813] MACBETH 239 

Thane's wife came forward with her letter ; a gratifying 
sound to me, who had been thought always the plain 
one of the family ; even Grace Baillie, the most obliging 
creature in the world, could only force herself to say, 
when contemplating the pale thin object presented to 
her, " Eliza will be very lady-like !" 

I was vain of my briach (bonnie), and our High- 
landers were good judges of both beauty and merit; 
they were charmed with William's MacdufT and 
applauded him vehemently, many of the women 
bursting into tears; Jenny Dairy soaked her apron 
through "to see puir Mr William greeting for his wife 
and family." We had a large audience. All our 
particular friends, Belleville, Mrs and Miss Macpherson, 
Camerons from the Croft, Macintoshes from the Dell, 
and Mr Alexander Grant from Garmouth ; these were 
the select, on the front benches ; at the back were John 
and Betty Campbell from the Dell of Killiehuntly up in 
Badenoch the farm they had taken on leaving our 
service Mackenzie and Mrs Mackenzie, once Mrs 
Lynch, from their inn at Aviemore, and all our own 
servants. Our theatre was part of the granary, decorated 
by ourselves with old carpets and curtains, green boughs, 
and plenty of candles. We made our own dresses, 
Anne Cameron and Jane Macintosh assisting ; and t as 
the old black trunk in the long garret was made over to 
us, we had my grandmother's blue and silver, and yellow 
satin, and flowered silks, and heaps of embroidered 
waistcoats, scarfs and handkerchiefs, all of which were 
turned to account. One peculiarity of this acting was 
that we became so attached to the characters we could 
not bear to think ill of them. We excused everybody 
for every act, with the exception of Lady Macbeth ; we 
could in no way get her out of the scrape of the murder, 
till we stumbled in Holinshed's Chronicles on the story 
as told in his times. Even then we could not approve 
of her, but judging of her by the morals of her age, we 
almost justified her for getting rid of a wicked cruel 
king, whose conduct to her and hers had been so 
ferocious. We forgot we were only shifting the saddle. 

240 MEASLES [1813 

We were like the biographers who become so enamoured 
of their subjects that they can never see their faults. 
We had also to make out the locality of the forest of 
Arden, and we settled it to our perfect satisfaction near 
Hainault ; the principality or duchy from which the two 
Dukes came eluded our researches. 

The next stirring event was another alteration a 
final one it proved of the principal staircase, the 
painting and papering of the new part of the house, and 
the fitting up of the drawing-room as a library. We had 
lived so long with doors and shutters of plain deal, cane- 
backed chairs and sofas, common Scotch carpeting, etc., 
that the chilly air of our half- furnished apartments 
never struck us as requiring improvement. My mother 
had long wished for more comfort around her, and the 
books having accumulated quite beyond the study 
shelves my father determined on removing them ; he 
gave himself great credit for his taste in the choice of 
his bookcases ; they were made of the fir from his 
forest, picked pieces of course, highly varnished and 
relieved by black mouldings. The room was large and 
lofty, and really looked well when finished, but it was a 
work of time. All summer and all autumn and part of 
the winter the various jobs were going on, and in the 
middle of the bustle we caught the measles, one after 
the other, we four who had hitherto escaped and no 
doctor in the country ! Tall Mr Stewart from Grantown, 
eighteen miles off, who used to attend every one on 
Speyside, was dead. He was a retired army surgeon 
who had settled in Strathspey on the chance of practice, 
skilful enough for ordinary cases in his line, medical aid 
being little wanted. Herbs and such simples cured the 
generality, and we had my grandfather's medicine chest 
administered sagaciously by my father. He did not like 
undertaking the measles, then considered a serious 
complaint, so he sent to Inverness for Doctor Ponton. 
He paid two very expensive visits, and we all got 

Just at this time there appeared in the village of 

1813] A NEW DOCTOR 241 

Kingussie a miserable-looking man in a well-worn 
tartan jacket, with a handsome wife, somewhat older 
than himself, and several children. They arrived from 
Lcchaber in an old gig, a small cart following with 
luggage and a short supply of furniture ; they hired the 
room over Peter Macpherson's new shop. This man 
announced himself as Dr Smith, brother to a clever 
man of the same name near Fort William. He had 
been some weeks there, creeping into a little practice 
among the neighbours, before we heard of him. 

A poor woman in Rothiemurchus had died for want 
of skilful aid ; the woman employed on these occasions 
had not been equal to the circumstances. This unhappy 
event decided my father to look out for a doctor, and 
he went to consult Belleville about it. An inquiry had 
been held into the causes of the accident, and Dr Smith 
had been brought forward to give his professional 
testimony ; his intelligence, his general information, 
astonished them ; here was the very man they wanted. 
Accordingly it was resolved to try him for a year. The 
Marquis of Huntly, the Duke of Gordon, and Ballin- 
dalloch were written to. Poor Balnespick was away ; 
he had gone to Cheltenham, where he died. The 
regular subscription for the care of the poor being 
immediately provided, this clever man was relieved from 
the fear of starvation, and had the hope besides of cases 
among the richer classes that would pay him better. 
He began with us, for we all took ill again, an illness no 
one could understand ; all the symptoms of measles, 
and measles we had just recovered from ; yet measles 
it was. Mary and I had it very severely ; her cough, 
with winter approaching, gave great anxiety. Dr 
Ponton was again sent for, but his grave pomposity 
suggested no change from Dr Smith's treatment, so 
with another heavy fee he took leave of us. 

After the measles Dr Smith appeared no more in 
the old tartan jacket, and though he still preferred 
walking to any other exercise twenty or even thirty 
miles a day being a common thing with him he looked 
neither so pale nor so thin as when he had first shown 



himself at the inquest. He was quick at the uptak, fond 
of reading, a good listener, and a pleasant talker. Even 
Belleville's well-stored memory seldom found a quota- 
tion thrown away. 

When my father had set all his various hands to 
work Donald Maclean and his half-dozen men to the 
staircase, a cabinetmaker and his assistants from Perth 
to the new library, Grant the painter from Elgin with 
his men to their papering and oil-brushes he set off 
himself to be re-elected for Great Grimsby, a dissolu- 
tion of Parliament having made this necessary. An 
immensity of money was spent on this occasion, another 
candidate having started, the rich Mr Fazakerly ; out of 
four two only could succeed, and my unfortunate father 
was one of them. 

My mother had had all the bedrooms in the new 
part of the house painted and papered to please herself. 
In the old part she had painted, but had not ventured 
on papering, the old walls not having been studded ; 
they were therefore done in distemper, as were those 
of the dining-room. The colours were not happily 
chosen, buff and grey, and the dining-room pea-green; 
all the woodwork white, very cold-looking. The dining- 
room was relieved by the Thorley pictures, mostly by 
Dutch or Flemish artists, a small well-chosen selection. 
There was a Berghem, two Boths, a Watteau, a Jan 
Stein, a small Wouvermann, and several more 
undoubted originals, though by painters of less note. 
One w e admired was one of the three authorised copies 
of Raphael's " Giardiniera " the Virgin and Child and 
little dark St John made by a favourite pupil. Castle 
Howard has another, Russborough claims the third. 
The subject, however, was so in favour that many 
pencils were tried on it, each possessor claiming of 
course to hold one of the three valuables. There were 
two coloured chalk sketches by Rembrandt of himself 
and a friend ; a piece of fruit, fish, and game considered 
very fine ; in all about fifteen paintings, including two 
nearly full-length portraits, a Raper ancestor and his 


[To face page 242. 


friend Sir Christopher Wren. A court beauty by Sir 
Peter Lely was sent up to a bedroom, she was not 
dressed enough to be downstairs ; and a James the 
Sixth style sort of man was promoted to the library, the 
only picture allowed in the room. A few old landscapes, 
not so well preserved, were hung about in the bedrooms. 
One portrait, unframed, in bad preservation, always 
riveted my attention ; we called it the dying nun, 
because of the style of the accessories. It must, I think, 
have been the work of no pretender, whether his name 
be known to fame or not. 

Our Grant ancestors were spread over the walls of 
the staircase : the Spreckled Laird and some of his 
family, himself in armour, his brother Corrour in ditto, 
his wife the Lady Jean in a very low-cut red velvet 
gown, with her yellow hair flowing over her shoulders, 
their little boys, my uncle Rothie and one who died 
young, of whom my brother Johnnie was the image, in 
court-like suits, holding out birds and nosegays ; Lord 
Elchies in his ermine, and some others unknown. They 
made a better show after they were framed by my 
brother John when he was home on leave from India. 

The library was long in being completed ; there was 
a good deal of work in the bookcases, as they entirely 
surrounded the room. My mother had made the 
upstairs drawing-room so pretty, and the view from its 
windows was so very beautiful, that no one entering it 
could wish for any other ; it looked up the Spey to the 
Quaich range of mountains, Tor Alvie on the one hand, 
the Ord Bain on the other, and the broom island, now a 
pretty lawn covered with sheep, just in front between us 
and the river. The grand pianoforte was there, and the 
harp and a writing-table, the fireplace filled with balsams, 
other plants in the small light closets opening out of the 
room, and sofas and chairs in plenty. Angelica Kauf- 
mann's prints were pinned on the walls. Altogether it 
was cheerful and summery, and many a pleasant hour 
was spent in this pretty apartment. 

Amongst other visitors there came Tom Lauder and 
his friend, henceforward our dear friend, Dr Gordon ; 


my father and mother had known him before, but to us 
young people he was a stranger. He was hardly hand- 
some, and yet all his friends thought him so ; not very 
tall, slight, fair ; it was the expression of his countenance 
that was charming, and his manner, so gay, so simple, so 
attractive. He was very clever, had made his own way 
and was getting on rapidly. He had married, not well, 
I think, though he was happy, and it had been a long 
attachment. It was a bad connection, and she, to my 
mind, was not an agreeable woman dawdling, untidy, 
grave. She was very useful to him, having a good head 
for languages. 

Two results followed our new friendship. Dr 
Gordon explained to my father the evil of our early rising 
and late breakfasting ; he assured him also that those 
stomachs that disliked milk, milk was not good for ; the 
consequence was that we went back in rising to my 
mother's hour of seven, and that I had orders to make 
breakfast every morning at nine, and Mary partook of 
it ; Caroline preferred joining James Cameron, Lachlan, 
and Johnnie, who all throve on porridge or bread and 

The other result was that William, who was now 
fifteen, was to return no more to Eton. He was to 
remain at home till the College met in Edinburgh in 
October, when Dr Gordon consented to take charge of 
him. Great rejoicings followed this decision ; the south 
of England was so far away, letters were so long on the 
road ; and though we had franks at command, so could 
write as often as we pleased, that did not lessen the 
distance, for the post used to go round by Aberdeen to 
Inverness and on to Grantown by a runner, where 
another runner received our bag and brought it three 
times a week to the Doune. 

This summer a great improvement took place in our 
postal arrangements ; a stage-coach was started to run 
three days a week between Perth and Inverness. Our 
bag was made up at Perth and dropped at Lynwilg at 
Robbie Cumming's, whose little shop soon became a 
receiving-house for more bags than ours. It was quite 

1813] WARLIKE NEWS 245 

an event ; we used to listen for the horn ; on still days 
and when the wind set that way we could hear it 
distinctly, as we walked on the flow-dyke round the farm. 
At one or two breaks in the wooding we could see the 
coach, a novel sight that made us clap our hands, and 
set poor Miss Elphick crying. She took to walking in 
that direction, it was so gay, so like what she 

The bridge of Alvie was passed by the new coach at 
about five o'clock, and we had to hurry home to dress 
for dinner. During the second course, or later on a bad 
evening, the boy sent for the bag returned ; the butler 
brought it in and delivered the contents. One evening 
late in autumn it came; Miss Elphick and I dined 
downstairs now, and we were all sitting round the fire 
on which fresh logs had been thrown, the dessert and 
wine were on the horse-shoe table, when the bag came 
in. Such startling news ! the Dutch revolt, the signal 
for rousing Europe ! There had been a dearth of war- 
like news after the Spanish campaigns were over, and 
this unexpected turn of affairs in Holland excited every 
one. How eagerly the papers were watched for many a 
day after. 

I do not recollect any other matter of importance 
happening during the remainder of this year. Lord 
Huntly and a set of grouse-shooting friends came to 
Kinrara, but we did not see much of them. Some of 
them dined with us once or twice ; Lord Huntly often 
came over in the morning, and he had William with him 
a great deal more than was good for an idle boy of his 

I never like to think of the style of education given 
by the higher classes to their sons ; home indulgence, 
school liberty, college license, and no ennobling pursuits ; 
we are then surprised that the low gratification of the 
senses should almost entirely supersede with our young 
men the higher pleasures of an exercised intellect. In 
one very important^ particular, the management of 
themselves, they are never in the very least instructed. 
At Eton the boys had too much money, not to be laid 

246 ETON "POUCHINGS" [1813 

out by themselves for themselves, in necessaries first and 
indulgences afterwards ; but all that they could possibly 
want being provided for them at a cost of which they 
knew not one item, their " pouches " were extra, to be 
wasted on nonsense, or worse ; some of these pouches 
were heavy, boys carrying back with them from ten 
guineas upwards according to the number of rich friends 
they had seen in the holidays, everybody " pouching " 
an Eton boy. William departed for Edinburgh really as 
ignorant as his little brother of how ,far his allowance 
would go, or what it would be wisest to do with it. 


THE winter of 1814 set in extremely cold ; we had the 
Spey frozen over early in January. The whole country 
was hung with frost, the trees looking like so many 
feathers sparkling with diamonds in the sunshine. The 
harvest-homes, and the forest ball, and the Christmas at 
Belleville, and the Christmas at the Doune had all 
taken place in due order ; our fete being remarkable by 
the opening of the library, now at last completed. The 
bookcases, finished by handsome cornices, and very 
high, looked very comfortable when quite filled with 
books ; all along the top were busts, vases, etc. The 
old Puritan in the ruff was over the mantelpiece. 
There were the Thorley telescope, microscope, theo- 
dolite, and other instruments of scientific value ; a 
large atlas, portfolios of prints, and a fair collection of 
books amounting to three or four thousand volumes ; 
there was not a subject on which information could not 
be gathered amongst them. There were some little old 
Elzevirs, Aldines, Baskervilles, and a Field Bible, to 
rank as curiosities. A shelf of huge folios, the architec- 
ture of Italy, Balbec, Palmyra, and other engravings, as 
I may well know, for I wrote the catalogue. 

My father and I were months at this pleasant work, 
during the progress of which I think that my frivolous 
mind learned more of actual worth to me than it had 
taken in during all the former years of my young life. 

We were still in the middle of our books when the 
poor old Captain died. He had been subject for many 


248 THE CAPTAIN'S DEATH [1813-14 

years to violent attacks of tic in some of the nerves of 
the face. He had had teeth drawn, had been to 
Edinburgh to undergo treatment both surgical and 
medical, to no purpose. Twice a year, in the spring 
and fall, violent paroxysms of pain came on. The only 
relief he got was from heat ; he had to live in a room 
like an oven. His good wife was so tender of him at 
these times ; what a mass of comforts she collected 
round him ! 

He had been longer than usual without an attack ; 
we were in hopes he was to be relieved during his 
decline from such agony, and so he was but how ? by 
a stroke of paralysis. It took him in the night, affected 
one whole side, including his countenance and his 
speech. He never recovered, even partially, and was a 
piteous spectacle sitting there helpless, well-nigh sense- 
less, knowing no one but his wife, and not her always, 
pleased with the warmth of the fire and sugar-candy ; 
the state of all others he had had the greatest horror of 
falling into. He always prayed to preserve his faculties 
of mind whatever befell the failing body, and he lost 
them completely ; not a gleam of reason ever again 
shot across his dimmed intellect. This melancholy 
condition lasted some months, and then the old man 
died gently in the night, either eighty-four or eighty- 
six years of age. 

The news was brought to the Doune early in the 
morning, and my father and mother set out immedi- 
ately for Inverdruie. They remained there the greater 
part of the day. In the evening my father and I were 
occupied writing the funeral letters, and the orders to 
Inverness for mourning. Next day Jane and I were 
taken to Inverdruie. We had never seen a corpse, and 
the Captain had died so serenely, his vacant expression 
had disappeared so entirely, giving place to a placidity 
amounting to beauty, that it was judged no less start- 
ling first view of death could be offered to young people. 
The impression, however, was fearful; for days I did 
not recover from it. Jane, who always cried abund- 
antly when excited, got over it more easily. The 

1813-14] FIRST SIGHT OF DEATH 249 

colour the indescribable want of colour, rather the 
rigidity, the sharp outline of the high nose (he had 
prided himself on the size and shape of this feature), 
the total absence of flexibility, it was all horror him, 
and not him. I longed to cry like Jane, but there came 
only a pain in my chest and head. My father preached 
a little sermon on the text before us. I am sure it was 
very good, but I did not hear it He always spoke well 
and feelingly, and the people around seemed much 
affected ; all my senses were absorbed by the awful 
image on that bed. We were led away, and then, 
while conversation was going on in the chamber of the 
widow, my mind's eye went back to the scene we had 
left, and things I had not seemed to notice appeared as 
I must have seen them. 

The body lay on the bed in the best room ; it had 
on a shirt well ruffled, a night-cap, and the hands were 
crossed over the breast. A white sheet was spread 
over all, white napkins were pinned over all the chair 
cushions, spread over the chest of drawers and the 
tables, and pinned over the few prints that hung on 
the walls. Two bottles of wine and a seed-cake were 
on one small table, bread, cheese, butter, and whisky on 
another, offered according to the rank of the numerous 
visitors by the solitary watcher beside the corpse, a 
natural daughter of the poor Captain's married to a 
farmer in Strathspey. 

A great crowd was gathered in and about the 
house; the name of each new arrival was carried up 
immediately to Mrs Grant, who bowed her head in 
approbation ; the more that came the higher the 
compliment. She said nothing, however; she had a 
serious part to play the Highland widow and most 
decorously she went through it. Every one expected 
it of her, for when had she failed in any duty? and 
every one must have been gratified, for this performance 
was perfect. She sat on the Captain's cornered arm- 
chair in a spare bedroom, dressed in a black gown, and 
with a white handkerchief pinned on her head, one side 
pinned round the head, all the rest hanging over it like 


the kerchief on the head of Henry of Bolingbroke in 
some of the prints. Motionless the widow sat during 
the whole length of the day, silent and motionless ; if 
addressed, she either nodded slowly or waved her head, 
or, if an answer were indispensable, whispered it. Her 
insignia of office, the big bright bunch of large house 
keys, lay beside her, and if required, a lady friend, 
first begging permission, and ascertaining by the 
nod or the wave which was the proper key to use, 
carried off the bunch, gave out what was wanted, and 
then replaced it. 

All the directions for the funeral were taken from 
herself in the same solemn manner. We were awe- 
struck, the room was full, crowded by comers and goers, 
and yet a pin could have been heard to drop in it ; the 
short question asked gravely in the lowest possible tone, 
the dignified sign in reply, alone broke the silence of 
the scene for scene it was. Early in the morning, 
before company hours, who had been so busy as the 
widow? Streaking the corpse, dressing the chamber, 
settling her own, giving out every bit and every drop 
that was to be used upstairs and down by gentle and 
simple, preparing the additional supplies in case of 
need afterwards so quietly applied for by the friendly 
young lady, there was nothing, from the merest trifle to 
the matter of most importance, that she had not, her 
own active self, seen to. 

I shall never forget her on the day of the funeral, 
the fifth day from the death. Her weeds had arrived, 
and remarkably well she looked in them. She, a plain 
woman in her ordinary rather shabby attire, came out 
in her new " mournings " like an elderly gentlewoman. 
She sat in the same room, in the same chair, with the 
addition of just a little more dignity, and a large white 
pocket-handkerchief. All her lady friends were round 
her, Miss Mary and Mrs William from the Croft, Mrs 
Macintosh from the Dell, Mrs Stewart from Pityoulish, 
two Miss Grants from Kinchurdy, her own sister Anne 
from Burnside, Miss Bell Macpherson from Invereshie, 
my mother, Jane, and I. There was little said ; every 

1813-14] THE DAY OF THE FUNERAL 251 

gig or horse arriving caused a little stir for a moment, 
hushed instantly. 

The noise without was incessant, for a great con- 
course had assembled to convoy the last of Macalpine's 
sons to his long home. 

A substantial collation had been set out in the 
parlour, and another, unlimited in extent, in the 
kitchen ; people coming from so far, waiting for so 
long, required abundance of refreshment. They were 
by no means so decorous below as we were above 
in the lady's chamber, though we had our table of good 
things too ; but we helped ourselves sparingly and 

At length my father entered with a paper in his 
hand ; it was the list of the pall-bearers. He read it 
over to Mrs Grant, and then gave it to her to read 
herself. She went over the names without a muscle 
moving, and then, putting her finger upon one, she 
said, " I would rather Ballintomb, they were brothers 
in arms." My father bowed, and then offered her his 
hand, on which she rose, and every one making way 
they went out together, a few following. 

They passed along the passage to the death- 
chamber, where on trestles stood the coffin, uncovered 
as yet, and with the face exposed. The widow took 
her calm last look, she then raised a small square of 
linen probably put there by herself for the purpose 
and dropping it over the countenance, turned and 
walked away. It was never to be raised. Though 
Jane and I had been spared this solemnity, there was 
something in the whole proceedings that frightened us. 
When Mrs Grant returned to her arm-chair and lay 
back in it, her own face covered by a handkerchief, and 
when my father's step sounded on the stairs as he 
descended, and the screws were heard as one by one 
they fastened down the coffin lid, and then the heavy 
tramp of the feet along the passage as the men moved 
with their burden, we drew closer to each other and to 
good Mrs Mackenzie from Aviemore, who was among 
the company. 


Hundreds attended the funeral. A young girl in 
her usual best attire walked first, then the coffin borne 
by four sets of stout shoulders, extra bearers grouping 
round, as the distance to the kirkyard was a couple of 
miles at least. Next came the near of kin, and then 
all friends fell in according to their rank without being 
marshalled. Highlanders never presume, their innate 
good-breeding never subjecting them to an enforced 
descent from a too honourable place; there is even a 
fuss at times to get them to accept one due to them. 
Like the bishops, etiquette requires them to refuse at 
first the proffered dignity. What would either say if 
taken at his word ? 

The Presbyterian Church has no burial ceremony. 
It is the custom, however, for the minister to attend, 
generally speaking, and to give a lengthy blessing 
before the feast, and a short prayer at the grave. Mr 
Grant of Duthil did his part better than was expected ; 
no one, from the style of his sermons, anticipated the 
touching eulogy pronounced over the remains of the 
good old Captain not undeserved, for our great-grand- 
uncle had died at peace with all the world. He was 
long regretted, many a kind action he had done, and 
never a harsh word had he said of or to any one. 

My father gave the funeral feast at the Doune ; most 
of the friends of fit degree accompanied him home to 
dinner. All sorts of pleasant stories went the round 
with the wine-bottles, and very merry they were, clergy 
and all ; the parsons of Alvie and Abernethy were both 
there, coming in to the library to tea in high good- 
humour. The rest of the people, who had been 
abundantly refreshed at Inverdruie, dispersed. 

The funeral over, there came on a marriage. Lord 
Huntly, now in the decline of his rackety life, over- 
whelmed with debts, sated with pleasure, tired of 
fashion, the last male heir of the Gordon line married. 
What would not the mother who adored him have given 
to have seen his wedding-day? What regrets she 
caused to herself and to him for preventing the love of 
his youth from becoming her daughter-in-law! She 


actually carried this beautiful girl away with her to 
Paris and married her to an old merchant, while her 
son was away with his regiment. His bride was young, 
and good, and rich, but neither clever nor handsome. 
She made him very happy, and paid his most pressing 
debts, that is her father did, old Mr Brodie of the Burn, 
brother to Brodie of Brodie, who either himself or some- 
body for him had had the good sense to send him with 
a pen to a counting-house instead of with a sword to 
the battle-field. He made a really large fortune ; he 
gave with his daughter, his only child, one hundred 
thousand pounds down, and left her more than another 
at his death. Really to her husband her large fortune 
was the least part of her value ; she possessed upright 
principles, good sense, and when by and by she began 
to feel her powers and took the management of his 
affairs, she turned out a first-rate woman of business. 
In her later years she got into the cant of the 
Methodists. At the time of her marriage she was very 
young, and too unformed to be shown as the bride of 
the fastidious Marquis, so while all the North was a 
blaze of bonfires in honour of the happy event, her lord 
carried her off abroad. 

The minister of Alvie made what was thought a 
very indelicate allusion to "coming rejoicings closely 
connected with the present " in a speech to the crowd 
round the blazing pile on Tor Alvie ; and as no after- 
events justified the prophecy, this incorrect allusion was 
never forgotten. The marriage was childless ; Lord 
Huntly was the last Duke of Gordon. 

Miss Elphick's mother having had a serious illness 
during the winter, and wishing to see her daughter, it 
was determined that we should have holiday for six 
weeks, and that our governess should travel to town 
under my father's escort, Caroline the French girl going 
with them. She was not to return ; she had been very 
useful to us in naturalising her language amongst us. 
People may read a foreign language well, understand it 
as read, even write it well, but to speak it, to carry on 
the affairs of daily life from mere grammar and 

254 READING ALOUD [1813-14 

dictionary learning, I do not believe to be possible. A 
needle full of thread was my first example in point. We 
were all at work, and I asked for " du fil pour mon 
aiguille" "Ah," said Caroline, "une aiguille'e de fil; 
tenez, mademoiselle ; " and so on with a thousand other 
instances never forgotten, for those eighteen months 
during which her Parisian French was our colloquial 
medium for the greater part of the day made us all 
thoroughly at home in the language ; and though rusted 
by years of disuse, a week in France brought it back so 
familiarly to my sister Mary and me that the natives 
could not believe we had not been brought up in the 
country. My father was much pleased at his plan 
having succeeded so well; he however forbade any 
mixture of tongues ; when we wrote or spoke English 
no French words were to be introduced; English, he 
said, was rich in expletives, there could be no difficulty 
in finding in it fit expressions to convey any meaning. 
He would send us to Dryden, Milton, Bolingbroke, and 
Addison in proof of this ; were we to alter any sentences 
of theirs by changing an English for a French word we 
should enfeeble the style. 

One of his favourite exercises for us was making us 
read aloud passages from his favourite authors ; he 
himself had been taught by Stephen Kemble, and he 
certainly read beautifully. Jane was an apt pupil ; she 
sometimes mouthed a little, but in general she in her 
clear round voice gave the music, as it were, to the 
subject, expressed so perfectly by the gentle emphasis 
she employed. William was not bad ; I was wretched, 
they did nothing but make fun of me. They used to 
tell an abominable story of me how Jane, having got 
grandly through the mustering of all the devils in hell, 
alias fallen angels, and ended magnificently with " He 
called so loud that all the hollow deep Of hell re- 
sounded " (as did our library ! ), I began in what 
William called my " childish treble," " Princes, Potent- 
ates," in a voice that a mouse at the fireside could have 
imitated ! 

Milton did not suit me, but Sterne was worse; 


nobody could read Sterne, I am certain. My father 
could not ; that ass, and the Lieutenant's death, and 
the prisoner who could read them aloud, or without 
tears ? 

To return from this episode. My father, Miss 
Elphick, and Caroline happily off, we bade adieu to the 
restraints of the schoolroom. We did not neglect our 
studies, but we shoved them aside sometimes, and we 
led an easy sort of half-busy merry life, more out of 
doors than in, all the fine bright weather of the spring- 
tide. Jane looked after Mary's lessons, I carried 
Johnnie through his; we all four agreed that the 
governess was quite a supernumerary! Yet we owed 
her much; with Mary she had done wonders; by 
methodical perseverance she had roused her mind to 
exertion; Touchstone had been a great help. Jane 
and I were surprised to find the child who a year before 
could not count, able to work any sum in the simple 
rules. She gave great expression to the simple airs 
she had learnt on the pianoforte, and she had wakened 
up to ask questions, and to be merry and enjoy her 
walks, and though, from her great size for her age, her 
intellect remained slow till her growth of body was over, 
she was never again so inert as Miss Elphick had found 

Johnnie was so easy to teach that he and I worked 
in sunshine. He was the dearest little fellow ever was 
in the world, not pretty except for fine eyes, small, 
slight, very quiet and silent, but full of fun, full of 
spirit, clever in seeing and hearing and observing and 
understanding all that went on around him, preferring 
to learn in this practical way rather than from books. 
He grew fond of reading, but he had found the master- 
ing of the mere mechanical part so difficult that he had 
rather a distaste for the labour then. 

We had two ponies at our command, William's 
pretty and rather headstrong Black Sally, and the old 
grey my mother used to ride to the reviews, now grown 
milk-white. He was large, but so quiet that Mary, who 
was a coward, was mounted on him. She never liked 


riding, and went but seldom. Johnnie, besides being so 
little, was much of her mind; Jane and I therefore had 
our steed to ourselves, and plenty of use we made of it. 
We rode to Belleville, to the Dell of Killiehuntly, and 
all over the country up and down the Spey, a fat 
coachman on one of the carriage horses behind us. 

At the Dell of Killiehuntly lived John and Betty 
Campbell, doing well, but alas ! not happy. His brother 
shared the farm, a good managing man with whom it 
was easy to live but he had a wife with whom it was 
not easy to live. The two ladies soon disagreed, and 
though they parted household John and Betty living 
in the farmhouse, Donald and Mary in rooms they fitted 
up in the offices perfect harmony never subsisted until 
sorrow came to both. 

Donald and Mary had a fine son drowned in the 
Spey; John and Betty lost their only child, my god- 
daughter, in the measles. Neither bereaved mother 
ever " faulted " the other after these events. Each had 
shown so much heart on the occasion of the grief of the 
other, that some bond of kindness, at least of forbear- 
ance, existed evermore between them. Betty never got 
over her " puir Eliza's " death ; she never alluded to her, 
never replied when any one else did, nor did she appear 
altered outwardly, yet it had changed her. Her hair 
turned grey, her manner became restless, and from that 
day she never called me anything but Miss Grant, my 
Christian name she never uttered, nor the pet name 
"burdie" by which she had oftenest called us both. It 
altered John Campbell too. What had brought that 
pair together was a problem not to be solved. John 
had but very few words of English, it was difficult to 
make out his meaning when he tried to explain himself 
in that foreign language ; to the end of his life he never 
got beyond the smattering he began with. Betty, a 
Forres woman, spoke broad, low-country Scotch, pure 
Morayshire, and never anything else to her husband or 
to any one ; she never attempted the Gaelic. The 
language she did speak was all but incomprehensible, 
any English the Highlanders acquire being real good 


English such as they are taught by books at school, and 
in conversation with the upper classes ; Betty's was 
another tongue, the Low Dutch would have compre- 
hended it as easily as did the Highlander, yet she and 
John managed to understand each other and to get on 
together lovingly, the grey mare taking the lead. 

Both husband and wife loved us dearly ; few events 
made either of them happier that the sight of our ponies 
picking their steps cannily down the brae a little piece 
away from their good farmhouse. All that they had of 
the best was brought out for us, our steeds and our fat 
attendant faring equally well for our sakes ; and then 
Betty would promise to return the visit, and she would 
not forget her promise either, but walk her eight or nine 
miles some fine day, and pay her respects all through 
the Duchus. She always reminded me of Meg Merrilies, 
a tall, large-framed, powerfully-made woman, with dark 
flashing eyes and raven hair, eminently handsome, 
though resolute-looking. Her dress, though of a 
different style from the gipsy's, was picturesque ; a 
linsey gown, white neckerchief, white apron, a clear 
close-fitting cap with a plaited lace-edged border, and a 
bright satin ribbon to bind it on the head, and over this 
a high steeple cap of clearer muslin, set farther back 
than the underneath one so that the borders did not 
interfere. A red plaid of the Campbell tartan, spun and 
dyed by herself, was thrown round her when she went 

She spun the wool for stockings too, and knitted 
them ; at fine needleworks she was not expert, indeed she 
was too active to sit to them. She was a stirring wife, 
in and out, but and ben, cooking, washing, cleaning, 
keeping a quick eye over all, warm-tempered and kind- 
hearted. In her old age, when husband and child were 
gone, Betty grew fond of money. She was free-handed 
in happier days. 

Miss Elphick returned before my father. She came 
by sea to Inverness, stayed a day or two with the 
Coopers, and then came on in the gig with Mr Cooper, 
who had business with William Cameron and such a dose 



of north country gossip for my mother ! She liked a little 
gossip, and she got abundance. I like gossip too, I 
suppose we all do, clever gossip, but not Mr Cooper's : 
" The laird of this, his bills flying about ; the lady of 
that, too sharp a tongue to keep a servant. Everything 
under lock and key at Glen here; open house to all 
comers at Rath there. Fish bought at extravagantly 
high price by Mrs So-and-So of New Street, while the 
children of Some-one in Church Lane often came to Mrs 
Cooper for a ' piece.' " He was a kind good-natured 
man, and his home was very happy. Miss Elphick 
admired him extremely, " his coats fitted so beautifully." 
She had brought for her own wear from London 
a bottle-green cloth surcoat, much braided, quite 
military-looking, and a regular man's hat, a Welsh style 
of dress she fancied particularly becoming and suited to 
her, as tartans were to us, her mother being a Welsh- 
woman. In this guise she went in the month of May, 
or June indeed, to pay her visit of condolence to the 
widow at Inverdruie ; a farewell on our part, Mrs Grant 
having determined to give up her farm arid return to 
Burnside to keep house with her very old mother and 
her bachelor brother. We were coming back, and had 
reached the turn in the road under the bank of fir trees 
near James Macgregor's, when a disastrous piece of 
news reached us. What we called " the widows' house " 
at Loch-an-Eilan was burnt to the ground. 

My father had always had a turn for beautifying 
Rothiemurchus with cottages ; it was more that, at first, 
than the wish to improve the dwellings of the people, 
consequently his first attempts were guiltless of any 
addition to the family comfort. A single room, 
thatched, with a gable end battened down at top, like a 
snub nose, had been stuck on the hill at the Polchar for 
the gamekeeper, on the bank at the ferry for the boat- 
man, at the end of the West gate as a lodge. They 
were all as inconvenient as any old turf hut, and a great 
deal more ugly, because more pretending. 

Searching through our drawing-books for a model 


for the Croft improved his ideas of cottage architecture ; 
also, he now better understood the wants of a household. 
He picked out a number of pretty elevations, suggested 
the necessary changes, and left it to Jane and me to 
make correct drawings and working plans. 

We had to try perhaps a dozen times before a 
sketch was sufficiently good to be accepted. We 
became attached to the subjects; it was no wonder 
that the new cottages became of such importance to us. 
The West gate was the first improved. It was 
lengthened by a room, heightened sufficiently to allow 
of a store loft under the steep roof, the snub nose 
disappeared, the heather thatch was extended by means 
of supporting brackets, and a neat verandah ran along 
the side next the road and round the gable end. We 
trained Ayrshire roses on the walls, honeysuckle on the 
verandah, and we planted all sorts of common flowers 
in a border between the cottage and the road. It was 
a pretty cottage, particularly suited to the scenery, and 
when neatly kept was one of the shows of the place. 

The next attempt was the Polchar, a more 
ambitious one, for there were a front and a back door, 
a long passage, staircase, pantry, kitchen, parlour, and 
two bedrooms above. It was very picturesque with its 
overhanging heather-thatched roof, its tall chimneys, 
and its wide latticed windows. There was no border of 
flowers, only a small grass plot and a gravel walk, but 
there was an enclosed yard fronted by the dog kennels, 
and a path led to a good kitchen garden laid out in a 
hollow close by. Another path went down to the edge 
of the first of the chain of Lochans, and on through the 
birch wood to the Croft. Another path skirted these 
little lochs by James Macgregor's to the fir forest aunt 
Mary's walk. It was a model for the dwelling of a 
Highland gamekeeper. 

Next came a cottage for four aged widows ; they 
had been living apparently in discomfort, either alone 
in miserable sheilings, far from aid in case of sickness, 
and on such dole as kind neighbours gave helped by a 

260 THE WIDOWS' HOUSE [1812-14 

share of the poor's box, or in families weary enough of 
the burden of supporting them. 

My father thought that by putting them all 
together he could lodge them cheaply, that they might 
be of use to one another in many ways, and that the 
help given to them would go farther when less sub- 
divided. It was a really beautiful home that he built 
for them ; there were the cantilever roof of heather, 
the wide latticed windows, the tall chimneys, but he 
made it two storeys high, and he put the staircase 
leading to the upper rooms outside. It had quite a 
Swiss look. Sociable as were his intentions regarding 
the widows, he knew too well to make them live 
together except when they were inclined. Each was to 
have a room and a closet for herself. Two of them 
were to live on the ground floor with a separate 
entrance to their apartments, one door opening from 
the front, the other from the back of the house ; the 
two above reached their abode by the hanging stair- 
case, a balcony landing each beside her door-window. 

We were charmed with this creation of our united 
fancies, and had grand plans for suitable fittings, 
creeping plants, flower borders, rustic seats, and 
furniture. The loch was on one hand; the meal-mill 
at the foot of the Ord, with the burnie, the mill-race, a 
few cottages and small fields, on the other; the grey 
mountains and the forest behind ; all was divine but 
the spirit of woman. The widows rebelled ; old, 
smoke-dried, shrivelled-up witches with pipes in their 
mouths, and blankets on their backs, they preferred 
the ingle-nook in their dark, dirty, smoke-filled huts to 
this picture of comfort. Stone walls were cold, light 
hurt the eyes, deal floors got dirty and had to be 
scrubbed ! The front door complained of the outside 
stair, it was so much in the way and noisy ; the back 
door objected to entering at the back, she had as good 
a right as her neighbour to the exit of honour ; her 
windows looked on the burn, there was no road that 
way, she could see nothing; she equally detested the 
stairs though they were not near her ; both ground 

1812-14] BURNT DOWN 261 

floors said that people going up and coming down, for 
ever crossing them in all ways, forced them to spend 
a great deal of valuable time at the foot of this 
annoyance, expostulating with the upper windows for 
the ceaseless din they made. These more exalted 
ladies felt themselves quite as ill used as those beneath 
them. Their backs were broken carrying burdens up 
those weary stairs; no one could come to see them 
without being watched from below. In short, they 
were all in despair, agreeing in nothing but hatred of 
their beautiful home. The fact is that they were* not 
fit for it ; it is not at threescore and ten that we can alter 
habits and the feelings grown out of them. It was very 
little understood then where to begin, and how slowly 
it was necessary to go on in order to reach the first 
even of the many resting-places on the road to better 

The poor Captain sealed the fate of the widows* 
house. One day after he had come in from his drive 
in the old pony phaeton with the long-tailed black 
pony, somebody asking which way he had been, he 
replied, "By Rothie's poorhouse at Loch-an-Eilan." 
Of all things on earth this name is most repugnant to 
the feelings of the Highlander; to be paraded as 
inmates of a recognised almshouse was more than 
the pride of any clanswoman could bear, and so it fell 
out that by accident the heather thatch took fire, and 
although neighbours were near, and a stream ran 
past the door, and the widows were all alive during 
the burning, active as bees removing their effects the 
stairs being no hindrance the flames raged on. In 
the morning only blackened walls remained. 

We could not help being so far uncharitable as to 
believe that whether or no they had lit the spark that 
threw them homeless on the world, they had at least 
taken no trouble to extinguish it. 

My father was much annoyed at this misfortune; 
he would do nothing towards any further arrangements 
for the comfort of these old bodies. Perhaps they 
lived to repent their folly. He did not, however, give 

262 A NEW TOY [1812-14 

up his building; the next cottage he undertook was 
given to more grateful occupants. He had intended 
it as a toy for my mother, but the amusement of fitting 
it up not suiting her tastes, it was eventually made 
over to us, and became one of the principal delights of 
our happy Rothiemurchus life. 

We will pause before describing it. Dalachapple 
once conversing with my mother concerning some firm 
in Glasgow the partners in which had been her 
acquaintance in her dancing day, "They failed, did 
not they ?" said she. "They paused? said he; and so 
will we. 


IN years long gone by a certain William Grant had 
enlisted as a soldier and gone off to foreign parts, 
never to return in his former station among his people. 
He rose early from the ranks, and during a prosperous 
career in India won for himself fame, and rupees to 
balance it. A curious kind of narrow-minded man, he 
had, however, the common virtue of his race he never 
forgot his relations ; in his advancement he remembered 
all, none were neglected. There was a deal of good 
sense, too, in the ways he took to provide for them. 
One brother was never more nor less than a common 
soldier ; we knew him as Peter the Pensioner, on 
account of sixpence a day my father got him from 
Greenwich, in lieu of an eye he had lost in some 
engagement. He lived in one of the cottages on the 
Milltown muir, with a decent wife and a large family 
of children, all of whom earned their bread by labour. 
We had a son in the wood-work and a daughter as 
kitchenmaid during the time their uncle the General 
was paying a visit to us. The next brother rose to be 
a major, and retiring from the army in middle life, 
settled on the farm of Craggan some miles down 
Speyside. His two sons, educated by the uncle, were 
both lieutenant-colonels before their death. The 
daughter, to whom he was equally kind, he took out 
to India, where she married a civilian high in the 
service. The rest of his relations he left in their own 
place, merely befriending them occasionally ; but for 
his mother, when she became a widow and wished to 



return to Rothiemurchus, where she was born, he built 
a cottage in a situation chosen by herself, at the foot of 
the Ord Bain, surrounded by birch trees, just in front 
of the old castle on the loch. Here she lived many 
years very happy in her own humble way on a little 
pension he transmitted to her regularly, neither " lifted 
up" herself by the fortunate career of her son, nor 
more considered by the neighbours in consequence. 
She was just the Widow Grant to her death. 

After she was gone, no one caring to live in so 
lonely a spot, the cottage fell to ruin; only the walls 
were standing when my father took a fancy to restore 
it, add to it, and make it a picture of an English 
cottage home. He gave it high chimneys, gable ends, 
and wide windows. Within were three rooms, a 
parlour, a front kitchen boarded, and a back kitchen 
bricked. He hoped my mother would have fitted it 
up like to her Houghton recollections of peasant 
comfort, but it was not her turn. She began indeed 
by putting six green-painted Windsor chairs into the 
front kitchen, and hanging a spare warming-pan on 
the wall, there being no bedroom in the cottage ; there 
her labours ended. The shutters of those cheerful 
rooms were seldom opened, stones and moss lay 
undisturbed around its white-washed walls, hardly any 
one ever entered the door; but it had a good effect 
in the scenery. Coming out of the birch wood it 
struck every eye, and seen from the water when we 
were in the boat rowing over the loch, that single 
habitation amid the solitude enlivened the landscape. 
We young people had the key, for it was our business 
to go there on fine days to open the windows, and 
sometimes when we walked that way we went in to 
rest. How often we had wished it were our own, that 
we might fit it up to our fancy. 

This spring I was furnished with a new occupation. 
My mother told me that my childhood had passed 
away; I was now seventeen, and must for the future 
be dressed suitably to the class " young lady " into 
which I had passed. Correct measurements were taken 


by the help of Mrs Mackenzie, and these were sent to 
the Miss Grants of Kinchurdy at Inverness, and to 
aunt Leitch at Glasgow. I was extremely pleased ; 
I always liked being nicely dressed, and when the 
various things ordered arrived, my feelings rose to 
delight. My sisters and I had hitherto been all dressed 
alike. In summer we wore pink gingham or nankin 
frocks in the morning, white in the afternoon. Our 
common bonnets were of coarse straw, lined with green, 
and we had tippets to all our frocks. The best bonnets 
were of finer straw, lined and trimmed with white, and 
we had silk spencers of any colour that suited my 
mother's eye. In the winter we wore dark stuff frocks, 
black and red for a while the intended mourning for 
the king. At night always scarlet stuff with bodices of 
black velvet and bands of the same at the hem of the 
petticoat. While in England our wraps were in pelisse 
form and made of cloth, with beaver bonnets ; the 
bonnets did in the Highlands, but on outgrowing the 
pelisses they were replaced by cloaks with hoods, made 
of tartan spun and dyed by Jenny Dairy, the red dress 
tartan of our clan, the sett originally belonging to the 
Grants. Our habits were made of the green tartan, 
now commonly known by our name, and first adopted 
when the Chief raised the 42nd regiment ; it was at 
first a rifle corps, and the bright red of the belted plaid 
being too conspicuous, that colour was left out in the 
tartan woven for the soldiers ; thus it gradually got 
into use in the clan, and still goes by the name of the 
Grant 42nd tartan. 

I now burst out full-blown into the following 
wardrobe. Two or three gingham dresses of different 
colours very neatly made with frills, tucks, flounces, etc. 
Two or three cambric muslins in the same style with 
embroidery upon them, and one pale lilac silk, pattern 
a very small check, to be worn on very grand occasions 
my first silk gown. A pink muslin and a blue 
muslin for dinner, both prettily trimmed, and some 
clear and some soft muslins, white of course, with 
sashes of different colours tied at one side in two 

266 A NEW WARDROBE [1814 

small bows with two very long ends. In the bright, 
glossy, pale auburn hair no ornament was allowed but 
natural flowers. The gowns, very much flounced some 
of them, were not unlike what we wear now, only the 
petticoats were scanty and the waists short, so short as 
to be most extremely disfiguring. The best bonnet 
was white chip trimmed with white satin and very 
small, very pale, blush roses, and the new spencer was 
of blush-rose pink. Then there were pretty gloves, 
neat shoes, silk neckerchiefs, and a parasol. Fancy my 
happiness I that had been kept so completely a child, 
was in fact so young for my age ! It might have 
turned my head but for two or three circumstances. 
The drawing-room was so dull that, after a few stately 
days passed there in my new dignity, I slid back to 
my sisters in the schoolroom, undeterred from pursuing 
such studies as I liked by the foolish sneers and taunts 
of poor Miss Elphick, who, with the weak jealousy of 
an inferior mind, chafed extremely at losing a pupil ; 
and after all, it was losing only the unlimited authority 
over her. Next, it was not easy to dress myself in my 
finery up in my corner of the barrack-room, and it was 
very difficult to carry myself and my flounces safely 
down the narrow turning stair which led to the passage 
opening on the front staircase. Also, having no 
wardrobe, my dresses were kept in a trunk ; the one 
I wanted seemed generally somehow at the bottom of 
it, and so troublesome to get at. 

A good deal of quiet gaiety took place this autumn. 
We had our usual relay of guests. Glenmoriston 
married this year ; he and his bride were with us nearly 
a week on their way to Invermoriston after the 
wedding. Logie and Mrs Gumming were not with us ; 
Alexander was for some time ; he rode up on his pony, 
a fine boy, in deep mourning for his father, who had 
died suddenly under painful circumstances. 

A public meeting had been held at Nairn, to be 
followed by a dinner; Logie was expected, and not 
arriving, the meeting had to proceed without him, and 
so had the dinner. The master of the hotel was a 


capital cook, famous for dressing ' mushrooms well. 
This was a favourite dish of Logic's, and Logie him- 
self being a favourite, the landlord reserved a portion 
for him, keeping it hot in the copper skillet he had 
cooked it in. Logie did come, accounting in some way 
for his delay ; he ate the mushrooms, was taken ill, 
every symptom that of poison, and he died in agony 
before the morning. His head was no great loss, but 
his heart was, for he was kind to everybody, and was 
long regretted by his neighbourhood. 

Mr and Mrs Dunbar Brodie came as usual from 
Coulmonie, she riding on her grey pony, he driving all 
the luggage in a gig, flageolet included ; and we went 
to the loch and rowed on the water and played to the 
echo, and then she measured all the rooms. 

The Marquis and Marchioness of Huntly arrived at 
Kinrara. We gave them a few days to settle before 
calling, but might have spared our delicacy, for the 
following morning a great racket was heard at the 
ferry close to the house, and presently the peculiar 
laugh of the Marquis ; soon he appeared at the window 
in his old shabby shooting-dress and one of his queer 
hats, without gloves, calling to my father and mother to 
come out, he had brought his wife to visit them ; and 
there she was, like another Cinderella, in a beautiful 
baby phaeton drawn by four goats. The pretty animals 
were harnessed with red ribbons, and at every horned 
head there ran a little foot-page, these fairy steeds 
being rather unruly. 

The whole equipage had been brought over in our 
small passenger boat. No sylph stepped out of this 
frail machine, but a stout bouncing girl, not tastefully 
attired, and with a pale broad face, fair which he never 
liked and stiff which he could not endure. He grew 
very fond of her, and so did I ; the rest of the family 
never took to her, and my father and mother remem- 
bering her predecessor, the beautiful brilliant Duchess, 
could not avoid making disadvantageous comparisons. 

Kinrara too was different, a more elevated and very 
stupid society, dull propriety, regularity, ceremony. 


There was a feast of food, but not of reason ; a flow 
of wine, but not of soul. I cannot wonder that they 
sighed over the change and thought with regret over the 
bright spirits departed. 

They came and dined with us ; we were alone. She 
was very timid. She never had the gift of conversa- 
tion ; she could talk well on a subject that interested 
her, and with a person she liked, otherwise she was 
silent. Buonaparte would not have chosen her for the 
wife of one of his marshals ; she did not shine in her 
reception rooms. We did not get on well at this 
dinner, we ladies by ourselves in the drawing-room. 
I was of no use, having only just been brought out of 
the schoolroom ; besides, it was not then the custom for 
young persons to speak unless spoken to. At last 
Lady Huntly proposed music, and on the pianoforte 
being opened she sat down to it to let us hear some 
Swiss airs she had picked up in her travels. The first 
chord was sufficient, the touch was masterly. In every 
style she played well, but her Scotch music, tender or 
lively, was perfection. Sir Walter Scott immortalised 
this delightful talent of hers in his Halidon Hill, and 
she merited his highest praise. I have never heard her 
surpassed or even equalled, as I do not reckon that 
wonderful finger-work now in fashion as worth listening 
to. Her lord, who was very little sensible of the power 
of harmony, was always pleased with her music, 
listening to it with evident pleasure and pride, 
particularly when she gave him the reels and strath- 
speys he danced so well, when he would jump up gaily 
and crack his fingers, and ask did any one ever hear 
better playing than that. 

Of course we were to dine at Kinrara, a visit the 
idea of which frightened me out of my wits. I was not 
afraid of Lord Huntly, I knew him well and he was my 
cousin besides ; but she was so stiff, and I knew there 
would be company, strangers, and I had never dined 
out Young people did not slide into society then. 
They strode at once from pinafores, bread and butter, 
and the governess, into long petticoats and their silent, 


young-lady place. They did not add to the general 
sociability, most of them could not ; unpractised as they 
were in all that was going and doing and saying, their 
little word would most likely have been put in out of 
season. In the ordinary run of houses company was 
anything but pleasant. Everybody seemed to assume 
an unnatural manner; they did not follow their 
customary employments ; the books, and the drawings, 
and the needlework were all put carefully out of sight. 
All were put out of their way too by a grand fatigue 
day of best glass, best china, best linen, furniture 
uncovered, etc., making everything look and feel as 
unlike home as possible. It was not a welcome we gave 
our friends, but a worry they gave us. 

In great houses there were skilful servants to take 
all this trouble and to prevent mistakes or fuss; in 
lesser houses it was annoying. There was little of this 
sort of troublesome preparation in our house, but there 
was a degree of formality, it was the manner of the 
day; and happily and easily as we lived with our 
parents when alone, or when only intimate friends were 
with them, we knew we were to keep at a respectful 
distance from company; it was a distasteful word, and 
the having to encounter all it meant in a strange house 
among strangers was far from agreeable. 

After dressing myself in the blue muslin frock, with 
wild roses in my hair, I should have felt more at ease 
had not my mother thought it necessary to read me a 
lecture on proper behaviour, so depriving me of all self- 
possession ; I was thoroughly uncomfortable during an 
evening that might have afforded me pleasure. Lord 
Huntly, too, increased this agitation by calling attention 
to me most unpleasantly. It was during dinner, that 
great long table filled with guests, covered with plate, 
brilliantly lighted, and a servant behind every chair. 
He was the greatest fidget on earth. He had a set of 
rules for his household, any infringement of which was 
visited by rigorous punishment. He used to be up 
himself to call the maids in the morning, in the kitchen 
at odd times to see what was doing ; at no hour of the 


day, or the night indeed, was the family safe from the 
bright very bright eyes of my lord, peering here, 
there, and everywhere. So during the dinner he was 
glancing about all round the room, talking, laughing, 
apparently only intent on being agreeable; yet he 
knew all that was going on at the sideboard behind him 
better than Wagstaffe who presided there. The gentle- 
men-sportsmen between whom I was placed found very 
little to interest them in the shy replies made by a 
young girl, hardly beyond childhood, to their few civil 
speeches. They busied themselves elsewhere and left 
me to the use of my eyes, and for them there was 
abundant amusement. I was accustomed to long 
dinners with all their tiresome courses, therefore bore 
the tedium of this very patiently. At last we reached 
the " sweets," and I took some jelly ; not rinding a fork 
beside my plate I asked my attendant for one, very 
gently too I hardly heard my own voice. But Lord 
Huntly heard it right well out he burst : " No fork 
for Miss Grant! A fork for Miss Grant Rothiemurchus 
directly ! Wagstaffe, pray who attends to these things ? 
Who sees the covers laid? Great inattention some- 
where ! This must not happen again. Lizzy, have you 
got your fork ? Now for the jelly, ha ! ha ! ha ! " 
How I wished I had made shift with the spoon. I 
would gladly have sunk under the table, for the storm 
had hushed every voice and turned every eye on poor 
me. I hardly ever remember feeling more miserable. 
Certainly bashfulness is very near akin to vanity. Jane 
would have gone through the whole unmoved, and 
would have thought Wagstaffe and suite fully deserving 
of the reproof they got. 

My next public appearance was much happier. It was 
the house-warming at the Croft. The family had already 
taken possession of the pretty new cottage, and the old 
had been turned into offices. Mr Cameron had 
promised us a dance to commemorate the change ; he 
now determined to give a dinner first, a dinner super- 
intended by Mrs William, who had been invested by her 
father-in-law with all power over the new premises. 


My father and mother and William went to the dinner, 
the rest of us followed to the tea in our favourite 
equipage, a cart filled with hay. We always went in a 
cart to the Dell when we could, because of the seven 
streams of the Druie we had to ford; it was so 
charming to be close to the water and to hear ourselves 
rumble over the stones ; the hay prevented our being 
hurt by the jolting, and plenty of plaids kept us warm. 
Even Miss Elphick enjoyed this manner of visiting. 
We generally sang all the way, bursting into screams 
of laughter when a big stone under the wheel cut short 
a holding note. We had a rough enough road to the 
Croft, a mere cart-track past the Fairy's Knowe to the 
Moss Riachan, and so on into the birch wood. William 
Cameron afterwards made a good approach to his house 
by this route, admired by every one but me ; I had 
something of my aunt Lissy in me, and liked it all in 
the wild state. The gates were all open for us a lucky 
thought, as they had no hinges ; they were merely tied 
by two withes on one side and one on the other, and 
had to be pulled back by a strong arm. 

Between parlour, kitchen, and barn we had nearly 
all Rothiemurchus at the Croft house-warming; 
Duncan Macintosh playing his best, his son Johnnie in 
tartan, and our Johnnie in his frightful short-waisted 
nankin frock and trousers, dancing the fling with all 
their hearts and cracking their small fingers. Old Mr 
Cameron danced too, and called for his tune The Auld 
Wife ayont the Fire, and instead of kissing his partner 
went up and kissed the old lady where she sat by the 
hearth in the old chair, and in the bonnet and shawl 
and green shade as usual. We were all so merry 
except her ; she was neither graver not gayer than was 
her wont. 

This merry dance there was the end of the old 
times. Whether the old lady had caught cold when 
moving, or whether her ailing frame had simply been 
worn out, she never seemed to thrive after leaving the 
little " but and ben " she had so long lived in. Before 
the winter set in Mrs Cameron died without any 


suffering. She was buried with the rest of us in the 
small enclosure in the kirkyard, her husband appearing 
at the funeral, in the house, and at the refreshment 
table, just as if it had been any other person's. He 
came in to visitors afterwards with his calm manner 
unaltered ; there was no change in him to common 
eyes, nor in the proceedings of the family. There was 
only her chair empty, and a shade over his benignant 
countenance that never left it. Before the spring he 
was laid beside her. We were far away when we lost him. 
Many many years have passed since I last heard him try 
Crochallan he never touched the "trump" after his 
wife's death but I shall never forget Mr Cameron, a 
real Highland gentleman, loving us with the love of kin, 
teaching us all wisdom, piety and a lively fancy glowing 
through his clear, sound sense. 

Before these melancholy events, we proceeded this 
pleasant autumn with the usual merry-makings. There 
was more company at the Doune, though I cannot 
remember who they were, and there were more dinners 
at Kinrara, no longer formidable, and a party at Belle- 
ville during some days, when for the first time to my 
recollection I saw him whom by courtesy for many 
years we continued to call young Charles Grant. 
Writing that once familiar name again is pleasant to 
me, recalling so much that was enjoyable, although 
some little that awakens regret. He was no ordinary 
man, and to be so thoroughly estranged from one who 
had been quite a son of the house, a dear elder brother, 
is cause for grief in a world where few of us ever suit 
sufficiently for intimacy. There was no fault on either 
part, it was merely that our paths through life lay 
differently. His father had been with us most summers ; 
he was our county member, so had to come to look 
after political interests. He was now intending to 
introduce his son to the electors against the time when 
he should himself, from age or weariness, disincline to 
continue in Parliament. The north country owed him 
much ; we got canals, roads, bridges, cadetships, and 
writerships in almost undue proportion. My father, his 


firm friend and most useful supporter, seldom applied 
in vain for anything in the old Director's power to give. 
We had reason to be grateful for all his many kind- 
nesses, but he was never to any of us the delightful 
companion that we found his son. 

Young Charles was at this time deeply in love with 
Emilia Gumming. She was a lovely-looking woman 
not a regular beauty, but more attractive than many 
handsome persons. Old Charles Grant had reasons for 
forbidding a marriage between them, and they were good 
ones, acquiesced in by his son, who yet had not the 
resolution to avoid her society. Year after year he 
dangled about her till her youth and her beauty went, and 
he found absence no longer a difficulty. Neither of 
them married. 

Mrs Macpherson, who had known him from a child, 
was really absurdly attached to him. She was anxious 
we should make an agreeable impression on each other. 
I do not remember that he spoke ten words to me, nor 
looked a second time at the childish girl quite over- 
praised to him. On my part, half a look was enough ; 
I thought him hideous, tall, thin, yellow, grave, with 
sandy hair, small light eyes, and a shy awkward manner, 
though nearly as old as my father and already of some 
note among clever men. These were the dear friends 
of after-days ! We have often laughed over our 

Then came the Pitmain Tryst. It was an old 
custom to hold a cattle market yearly in the month of 
September on a moor between Kingussie and Pitmain. 
Instead of, as in Ireland, the farmers flying about on 
cars to fairs, dressed in old clothes and with bank-notes 
in an inside pocket, to buy a lot of beasts from the small 
rearing farmers, choosing them here and there accord- 
ing to their fitness for the quality of grass they are 
destined to fatten on, our Highland proprietors reared 
large stocks of young cattle, disposed of regularly once 
a year at the current price. Belleville had a hundred 
cows, thus he had every year a hundred stots, sold 
generally for from 7 to 8 apiece. If any died during 



their period of growth he made up his number by 
buying from the cottar farmers, the only way these little 
bodies had of disposing of their single beast Balnespick 
kept up fifty store cows, my father thirty. There was 

treat emulation among them as to which reared the 
nest cattle. I must confess that though my father 
boasted of his superior breeding, great pains being taken 
to improve the stock, Belleville generally got the top 
price at the Tryst. The buyers were drovers, such men 
as Walter Scott most faithfully describes in Rob Roy. 
It was a separate trade. The drovers bought, and paid 
for, and carried off their purchase in large herds to the 
south, either to be privately disposed of or resold at 
Falkirk for the English market. 

A few substantial yeomen farmers were gradually 
establishing themselves in the country, some of whom 
were also drovers, who tried hard by patient industry 
to rival the produce of the laird's fuller purse. They 
probably made more of the business in the end. Our 
fine Staffa bull was choked by an uncut turnip. His 
price swallowed up a deal of profit. 

After the market in the morning, there was a 
dinner in the evening, drovers, farmers, and lairds all 
meeting in the large room at Pitmain to enjoy the 
best good cheer the county afforded. Lord Huntly 
presided, and sent a stag from Gaick forest. My father 
was croupier, and very grand speeches he and others 
made after the punch began to circulate. 

This year it was proposed that the ladies should 
be invited to shine on the assemblage not at the 
dinner, but to prepare tea in another room, which 
would break up the punch party earlier, and allow of 
the larger apartment being meanwhile prepared for 
dancing. Both Lord Huntly and my father were 
promoters of this sort of mixed meeting, so consonant 
to the spirit of feudalism still cherished throughout our 
mountains. They themselves were the life and soul 
of such gatherings, courteous to all, gay in manner, 
and very gallant to the fair. The ball was received 
with much favour, and in future always followed the 


Tryst, doing more in the way of improving the country 
than any one at first sight would suppose. Besides 
the renewal of intercourse between the ranks, leading 
to a continuance of kind feeling, a sort of stimulus was 
given to the spirits of those whom Belleville called the 
bodies. They had hardly finished talking over the 
pleasure of the one meeting before the preparations 
for the next had to be begun. Husbands were proud 
of producing handsome wives nicely dressed ; mothers 
looked forward to bringing with them pretty daughters 
to be introduced to grander friends. The dress and 
the manners of the higher portion of the company had 
a sensible effect on the lower. Mrs John Macnab's first 
cap was greatly moderated on her second appearance, 
and Janet Mitchell's boisterous dancing fined down 
into a not unbecoming sprightliness of movement. 

All this is over now. The few grandees shut 
themselves up rigorously in their proud exclusiveness. 
Those who could have perpetuated a better tone are 
gone, their places know them no more. Our former 
wise occasional reunions are matters of history ; each 
section appears now to keep apart, unnoticed by the 
class above, and in turn not noticing the class below. 

Lady Huntly did not do her part with all the 
charming kindness of her lord. She kept up at the 
head of the room among her own Kinrara guests, 
laughing so frequently that nothing could persuade the 
Laggan and Badenoch farmers that she was not 
ridiculing them. Her dancing did not quite redeem 
her character, though it was good, in the old reel and 
strathspey style. The sort of thing did not suit her, it 
was plain her being there at all was an effort. 

The Lady Belleville was known of old to keep 
herself very distant, but she was a Southron, and little 
was expected from her. She sat up in her big red 
turban amid the great, and there she, and such as she, 
were allowed to sit ; all the rest of the room were in 
high glee, dancing, old and young, almost without 
a rest. 

One of the ladies most in repute as a partner was a 


very old Mrs Macintosh of Borlam, who lived in the 
village of Kingussie with her daughter, the widow of a 
Major Macpherson, and a comely widow too. The 
Leddy Borlam was said to be not far from ninety years 
of age, upright, active, slender, richly dressed for her 
station, and with a pleasant countenance. Her hand- 
some silks caused many a sly remark. She was the 
widow of a celebrated freebooter whom Sir Thomas 
Lauder endeavoured to portray as " Lochandhu." 
There were many tales current of his doings in our 
part of the country. A cave he hid his treasures in 
was still open on the hill at Belleville, for he did not 
deal in black cattle only; no traveller was safe when 
Borlam wanted. His wife was said to have been 
frequently occupied in picking out the marks in the 
fine holland ruffled shirts it was his especial coxcombry 
to appear in, and it was more than whispered that he 
had given her braws enough to last beyond a lifetime ; 
seemingly a true suspicion, for the Lady Borlam's silks 
would stand alone, and she had plenty of them. With 
them she wore the Highland mutch (the high clear cap 
of fine muslin, trimmed, in her case with Flanders lace), 
and then, calm as a princess, she moved about in her 
ill-gotten gear. She was a wonderful old woman, keen, 
merry, kindly, and as cute as an Irishwoman, never 
tripping in her talk, or giving the remotest hint of the 
true character of her lamented husband. 

The Northern Meeting was to all of our degree as 
important a gathering as was the Badenoch Tryst to 
our humbler acquaintance. It had been set agoing 
soon after my birth by her who was the life of all circles 
she entered, the Duchess of Gordon. She had per- 
suaded all the northern counties to come together once 
a year about the middle of October, and spend the 
better part of a week at Inverness. There were dinners 
and balls in the evenings ; the mornings were devoted 
to visiting neighbouring friends and the beautiful 
scenery abounding on all sides. She had always 
herself taken a large party there, and done her utmost 
to induce her friends to do likewise stray English 


being particularly acceptable, as supposed admirers of 
our national beauties ! while enacting the part of lion 
themselves. No one with equal energy had replaced 
her ; still, the annual meeting went on, bringing many 
together who otherwise might not have become 
acquainted, renewing old intimacies, and sometimes 
obliterating old grudges. 

New dresses had come for my decoration, and 
beautiful flowers chosen by dear Annie Grant, her last 
kind office for a while for any of us. There were white 
muslin with blue trimmings, shoes to match, and roses ; 
white gauze, pink shoes and trimmings, and hyacinths ; 
pearl-grey gauze and pink, and a Bacchus wreath of 
grapes and vine leaves, for we had three balls, dinners 
before the first two, and a supper after the last. With 
what delight I stepped into the barouche which was to 
carry us to this scene of pleasure! I had no fears 
about partners, Pitmain had set me quite at ease on 
that score. We went through the ford at Inverdruie, 
every one we met bidding us godspeed, and looking 
after us affectionately for it was an era in the annals 
of the family, this coming out of Miss Grant and we 
stopped at Aviemore to have a few pleasant words 
with Mrs Mackenzie. It had been a beautiful drive so 
far, all along by the banks of the Spey, under the shade 
of the graceful birch trees, the well-wooded rock of 
Craigellachie rising high above us to the left after we 
had crossed the river. Just at the foot of this, our 
beacon-hill, there lies, quite close to Aviemore, a little 
loch shrouded in the wood, and full of small sweet 
trout, which during the earthquake at Lisbon was 
strangely agitated, dashing about in its small basin in 
a way not soon to be forgotten. It is the last bit of 
beauty on the road for many a long mile. A bare 
moor, with little to mark on it or near it, leads on to 
the lonely inn at Freeburn, a desolate dirty inn, where 
never was found a fire, or anything comfortable. A 
short way from this abode of despair, a fine valley far 
below opens on the view, containing a lake of some 
extent, the banks artificially wooded, a good stretch of 


meadowland, and a new house built by the Laird of 
Mackintosh, the Chief of his Clan, " my uncle Sir 
Eneas." The planting was then so young that even in 
that wilderness this solitary tract of cultivation was 
hardly worthy of much praise. Later on it grew into 
a fine place roads were made, and shrubberies and 
gardens, and the trees grew to a goodly size, but the 
succeeding Mackintosh did not live there ; he preferred 
Divie Castle near Inverness, and Moy, the ancient 
residence of his family, was let to sportsmen. From 
Freeburn the moor extends again, another dreary waste 
till we reached a wild scene I always admired. The 
Findhorn, an unsheltered, very rocky stream, rises 
somewhere beyond the ken of travellers, and tumbles 
on through a gully whose high banks give only an 
occasional glimpse of fair plains far off. A new road 
has been engineered along the sides of this " pass of the 
wild boars," Slochd Mor, thought a wonder of skill 
when viewed beside the narrow precipitous pathway 
tracked out by General Wade, up and down which one 
could scarcely be made to believe a carriage, with 
people sitting in it, had ever attempted to pass. My 
mother had always walked those two or three miles, or 
the greater part of them, the new route not having been 
completed till some years after her marriage. A third 
now puts to shame that much-praised second, and the 
planting, the cottages with gardens, and the roadside 
inns have all given a different character to this once 
bare region. There is no change, however, near 
Inverness ; there could be no improvement. It breaks 
upon the eye weary of the monotony of the journey as 
a fairy scene on drawing up a curtain. On rising the 
hill at the Kirk of Divie where the curious belfry is 
ever so far from this desolate place of worship the 
whole of the Moray Firth, with the bounding Ross- 
shire hills, the great plain of Culloden, Loch Ness, the 
mountains beyond that fine sheet of water, the broad 
river, and one of the prettiest of towns scattered about 
its banks just as it meets the sea, open before wonder- 
Ing eyes. That vale of beauty must have been a 

1814] THE FIRST BALL 279 

surprise to the first discoverer no Roman ; their 
legions crept along the coast to reach their fort at 
Euchlass, they never tried the Grampians. 

We put up at' Mr Cooper's good house in Church 
Street, where we were made very welcome and very 
comfortable ; and being tired with our day's work, we 
enjoyed a quiet evening with Mrs Cooper and her girls. 
We had come purposely the day before the first ball 
for the rest. The next morning I was sent with some 
of the children to Castle Hill, a very pretty farm of Mr 
Cooper's three miles from Inverness. We came back 
in time for me to get my toilet laid out ready, and my 
mother's too, with help, and to have my hair dressed by 
Mr Urquhart. 

Probably all young girls have felt once in their 
lives, at least, as I felt on mounting the broad, handsome 
staircase of the Northern Meeting rooms on my father's 
arm. The hall was well lit, the music sounded joyously, 
and my heart beat so high, it might have been seen to 
palpitate ! My mother and I passed into a suite of 
waiting-rooms, where poor Peggy Davidson's aunt 
attended to take care of the wraps, then rejoining my 
father we entered, through the large folding-doors, our 
fine assembly rooms. All was noise and blaze and mob. 
I could neither see nor hear distinctly. A pleasant 
voice sounded near, it was Glenmoriston's ; he was there 
with his wife, and his sisters, and her sisters, and their 
husbands and cousins, a whole generation of us. A 
little farther on we encountered relations I did not 
know, Colonel and Mrs Rose of Holme, just returned 
from India ; she was a little plain woman loaded with 
diamonds ; he was delightful, although he did introduce 
to me a very ugly small, pock-marked man, the captain 
of the Indiaman who brought them home, and with this 
remarkable partner I joined the long country dance 
then forming. My captain danced well ; he was very 
pleasant too, and much amused at the shaking of hands 
that took place between me and half the room. We 
were really acquainted with almost everybody, and of 
kin to a great number. 


Lord and Lady Huntly were there with a large 
party. Old Lady Saltoun ditto, dancing away in an 
open frock almost as lightly as her pretty daughter 
Eleanor who afterwards married young Mr Grant of 
Arndilly and she near eighty. Charlotte Rose, now 
Lady Burgoyne, was very pretty, and danced beautfully ; 
but the beauties of the room, I thought, were the two 
Miss Duffs of Muirtown tall, graceful girls with a 
pensive air that made them very attractive. My next 
partner was Culduthel poor Culduthel! a fine, gay, 
good-natured, rattling young man. Then Lord Huntly 
in a reel vis-a-vis to his wife, then Sir Francis Mackenzie 
of Gairloch, then one or two of the Kinrara gentlemen, 
and all the rest of the evening Applecross Mackenzie 
of Applecross, the last of his clever line. He was the 
catch of the north country from the extent of his 
property, and though very plain, sickly, and no great 
use as a dancing partner, he would have been, without 
a penny, a catch for any one worthy of him. Had he 
lived, he would have ably filled his position, but he and 
his only sister both died of consumption a few years 
after this, and before their parents. A writer in 
Edinburgh, with a large family, succeeded to that fine 
Ross-shire property. 

Mr Cooper told us at breakfast that my first 
appearance had been a decided success. I was 
perfectly aware of it, and not one bit elated, though my 
mother was, and her maternal anxieties had gone 
farther than mine; I had stopped at abundance of 

This evening's ball was pleasanter than the first; 
the third and last, with the supper, was best of all, even 
in spite of a drawback. Every joy has its attendant 
sorrow, every rose its thorn, and I had the persevering 
assiduities of a good-natured and rather vulgar person 
quite unable to see that his company was disagreeable. 
In no way could I escape two or three dances with this 
persistent young man, to my extreme annoyance, and, 
as it seemed to me, the unreasonable amusement of my 
new friend, Mr Mackenzie of Applecross. 


The mornings had hung heavy to many, but not to 
me. Most people lounged about the narrow ill-paved 
streets, paid each other visits, or congregated in our 
northern emporium of fashion, Mr Urquhart the hair- 
dresser's shop. My father took my mother, Mrs 
Cooper, one of the girls, and me for charming drives in 
several directions ; it was impossible to turn amiss, the 
whole surrounding scenery is so enchanting. We had 
visitors too, people calling early, before luncheon ; Mrs 
Rose of Kilravock, the dowager, was one of them. 
An extraordinary woman, once a beauty and still a wit, 
who was matronising two elderly young ladies, West 
Indians of large fortunes, and amusing them and every 
one else with her clever eccentricities and tales of her 
brilliant youth. She had been often at Kinrara in 
former days with Jacky Gordon, the particular friend of 
the Duchess. 

It was after our return home that Mrs Cameron of 
the Croft died, 


I HAVE always looked on my appearance at the 
Inverness Meeting as the second era in my life, 
although at the time I was hardly aware of it. Our 
removal to the Highlands, our regular break-in under 
the governess, the partial opening of young minds, had 
all gone on in company with Jane, who was in many 
respects more of a woman than I who was by three 
years her elder. I was now to be alone, my occupations, 
habits, ideas were all to be different from, indeed 
repudiated by, the schoolroom. Miss Elphick thought 
me and she was right a year too young for the trials 
awaiting me, for which I was in no way prepared. She 
was annoyed at not having been consulted as to the 
fitness of her pupil for commencing life on her own 
account, and so she would neither help my inexperience 
nor allow me to take shelter under my usual employ- 

I felt very lonely wandering about by myself, or 
seated in state in the library, with no one to speak to. 
My mother was little with me, her hours were late, her 
habits indolent ; besides, she was busily engaged with 
my father revolving several serious projects for the 
good of the family, none of them proper for us to be 
acquainted with till they were decided on. 

My father's Scotch friends were anxious that he 
should return to their Bar, and the state of his affairs, 
though none of us young people knew it, rendered some 


1814] A FIRE AT THE DOUNE 283 

such step necessary. Also my brother William had to 
look for a home while he remained in college. Mrs 
Gordon had had another baby, and in her small house 
there was no longer room for a lodger. Then there 
was the beautiful daughter ! The pale thin girl had 
blossomed into beauty, and hopes were raised of the 
consequences of her being seen beyond the wilderness 
she had hitherto bloomed in. 

So Edinburgh was decided on, and Grace Baillie 
was written to, to engage us a house. 

When we went to take leave of Mr Cameron, he 
followed us down to the gate at the Lochan Mor ; and 
there laying a hand on each young head, he bade God 
bless us with a fervour we recollected afterwards, and 
felt that he must have considered it as a final parting. 
Then wrapping his plaid round him and drawing his 
bonnet down over his eyes, he turned and moved away 
through the birch wood. He died during the winter, 
upwards of seventy-eight, young for a Highlander. 
Rothiemurchus altered after all that old set were gone. 

We were in great glee over our preparations for 
Edinburgh, when one night we got a fright ; one of the 
chimneys in the old part of the house took fire, a 
common occurrence it was the way they were 
frequently cleaned ! but on this occasion the flames 
communicated some sparks to a beam in the nearest 
ceiling, and soon part of the roof was in flames. None 
of us being in bed the house was soon roused, the 
masons sent for, and a plentiful supply of water being 
at hand all danger was soon over. My mother was 
exceedingly frightened, could not be persuaded to retire 
to her room, and kept us all near her to be ready for 
whatever might befall. At last, when calmer, we 
missed Miss Elphick ; she was not to be found, and we 
feared some mischance had happened to her. After a 
good search she was discovered as far from the house as 
she could well get, dancing about on the lawn in her 
night-dress, without a shoe or a stocking on her; by 
which crazy proceeding she caught so severe a. cold as 
was nearly the death of her. Jane said the whole scene 


made a beautiful picture, and while the rest of us were 
trembling for the fate of the poor old house, she was 
admiring the various groups as they moved about in the 
flickering light of the blazing chimney. 

We had no more adventures before we started on 
our journey, nor any incidents deserving of notice during 
our three days' travel, save indeed one, the most splendid 
bow from my odious partner, who, from the top of the 
Perth coach as it passed us, almost prostrated himself 
before the barouche. It was cold wretched weather, 
snow on the hills, [frost in the plains, a fog over the 
ferry. We were none of us sorry to find ourselves 
within the warm cheerful house that Miss Baillie had 
taken for us, No. 4 Heriot Row. The situation was 
pleasant, though not at all what it is now. There were 
no prettily laid-out gardens then between Heriot Row 
and Queen Street, only a long strip of unsightly grass, 
a green, fenced by an untidy wall and abandoned to 
the use of the washerwomen. It was an ugly prospect, 
and we were daily indulged with it, the cleanliness of 
the inhabitants being so excessive that, except on 
Sundays and " Saturdays at e'en," squares of bleaching 
linens and lines of drying ditto were ever before our 
eyes. Our arrival was notified to our acquaintance and 
the public by what my father's brethren in the law called 
his advertisement, a large brass plate on which in letters 
of suitable size were engraved the words 


My father established himself with a clerk and a 
quantity of law-books in a study, where he soon had a 
good deal of work to do. He went every morning to 
the Parliament-house, breakfasting before nine to suit 
William, who was to be at Dr Hope's chemistry class at 
that hour, and proceed thence to Dr Brown's moral 
philosophy, and then to Mr Play fair's natural philosophy. 
A tutor for Greek and Latin awaited him at home, and 
in the evenings he had a good three hours' employment 
making notes and reading up. Six masters were 

1814-15] DAILY ROUTINE 286 

engaged for us girls, three every day ; Mr Penson for 
the pianoforte, M. Elouis for the harp, M. L'Espinasse 
for French, Signer something for Italian, and Mr I 
forget who for drawing, Mr Scott for writing and 
ciphering, and oh 1 I was near forgetting a seventh, the 
most important of all, Mr Smart for dancing. I was to 
accompany my father and mother occasionally to a few 
select parties, provided I promised attention to this 
phalanx of instructors, and never omitted being up in 
the morning in time to make breakfast. It was hoped 
that with Miss Elphick to look after us, such progress 
would be made as would make this a profitable season 
for everybody. An eye over all was certainly wanted. 
My mother breakfasted in bed, and did not leave her 
room till mid-day. As I was not welcome in the school- 
room, my studies were carried on in the drawing-rooms, 
between the hours of ten, when breakfast was over, and 
one, when people began to call. It was just an hour for 
each master, and very little spare time at any other 
period of the day, invitations flowing in quick, resulting 
in an eternal round of gaieties that left us no quiet 
evening except Sunday. 

Our visiting began with dinners from the heads of 
the Bar, the Judges, some of the Professors, and a few 
others, nearly all Whigs, for the two political parties 
mixed very little in those days. The hour was six, the 
company generally numbered sixteen, plate, fine wines, 
middling cookery, bad attendance and beautiful rooms. 
One or two young people generally enlivened them. 
They were mostly got through before the Christmas 
vacation. In January began the routs and balls ; they 
were over by Easter, and then a few more sociable 
meetings were thinly spread over the remainder of the 
spring, when, having little else to do, I began to profit 
by the lessons of our masters. My career of dissipation 
was therefore but four months thrown away. It left me, 
however, a wreck in more ways than one ; I was never 
strong, and I was quite unequal to all we went through. 
Mrs Macpherson, who came up with Belleville in March 
for a week or two, started when she saw me, and 


frightened my mother about me. She had observed no 
change, as of course it had come imperceptibly. She 
had been surprised and flattered by my success in our 
small world of fashion. I was on the list of beauties ; it 
was intoxicating, but not to me, young and unformed as 
I was, and unused to admiration, personal beauty being 
little spoken of in the family. I owed my steadiness 
neither to native good sense nor to wise council. A 
happy temper, a genuine love of dancing, a little 
Highland pride that took every attention as due to my 
Grant blood, these were my safeguards. 

The intimate friends of my father were among the 
cleverest of the Whigs ; Lord Gillies and his charming 
wife, John Clerk and his sister, Sir David and Lady 
Brewster more than suspected of Toryism, yet ad- 
mitted on account of the Belleville connection and his 
great reputation Mr and Mrs Jeffrey, John Murray, 
Tommy Thomson, William Clerk. There were others 
attached to these brighter stars, who, judiciously mixed 
among them, improved the agreeability of the dinner- 
parties; Lady Molesworth, her handsome sister Mrs 
Munro, Mrs Stein, Lady Arbuthnot, Mrs Grant of 
Kilgraston, etc. We had had the wisdom to begin the 
season with a ball ourselves, before balls were plenty. 
All the beaux strove for tickets, because all the belles 
of the season made their first appearance at it. It was 
a decided hit, my mother shining in the style of her 
preparations, and in her manner of receiving her 
company. Every one departed pleased with the degree 
of attention paid to each individually. 

The return to the Bar had answered pretty well ; 
fees came in usefully. We gave dinners of course, very 
pleasant ones, dishes well dressed, wines well chosen, 
and the company well selected. My dress and my 
mother's came from London, from the little Miss 
Stewarts, who covered my mother with velvet, satin, and 
rich silks, and me with nets, gauzes, Roman pearl 
trimmings and French wreaths, with a few substantial 
morning and dinner dresses. Some of the fashions 
were curious. I walked out like a hussar in a dark 


cloth pelisse trimmed with fur and braided like the coat 
of a staff-officer, boots to match, and a fur cap set on 
one side, and kept on the head by means of a cord with 
long tassels. This equipment was copied by half the 
town, it was thought so exquisite. 

We wound up our gaieties by a large evening party, 
so that all received civilities were fully repaid to the 
entire satisfaction of everybody. 

This rout, for so these mere card and conversation 
parties were called, made more stir than was intended. 
It was given in the Easter holidays, or about that time, 
for my father was back with us after having been in 
London. He had gone up on some appeal cases, and 
took the opportunity of appearing in his place in the 
House of Commons, speaking a little, and voting on 
several occasions, particularly on the Corn Law Bill, his 
opinion on which made him extremely unpopular with 
the Radical section of his party, and with the lower 
orders throughout the country, who kept clamouring for 
cheap bread, while he supported the producer, the 
agriculturist. His name as a Protectionist was remarked 
quickly in Edinburgh where there was hardly another 
member of Parliament to be had, and the mob being in 
its first excitement the very evening of my mother's 
rout, she and her acquaintance came in for a very 
unpleasant demonstration of its anger against a former 

Our first intimation of danger was a volley of stones 
rattling through the windows, which had been left with 
unclosed shutters on account of the heat of the crowded 
rooms. A great mob had collected unknown to us, as 
we had music, and much noise from the buzz of 
conversation. By way of improving matters, a score of 
ladies fainted. Lady Matilda Wynyard, who had her 
senses always about her, came up to my mother and 
told her not to be frightened ; the General, who had had 
some hint of the mischief, had given the necessary 
orders, and one of the company, a Captain Macpherson, 
had been already despatched for the military. A violent 
ringing of the door bell, and then the heavy tread of 


soldiers' feet announced to us that our guard had come. 
Then followed voices of command outside, ironical 
cheers, groans, hisses, a sad confusion. At last came 
the tramp of dragoons, under whose polite attentions 
the company in some haste departed. Our guard 
remained all night and ate up the refreshments provided 
for our dismayed guests, with the addition of a cold 
round of beef which was fortunately found in the larder. 

Next day quiet was restored, the mob molested us 
no more, and the incident served as conversation for a 
week or more. 

The last large party of the season was given by 
Grace Baillie in her curious apartments on the ground 
floor of an old-fashioned corner house in Queen Street. 
The rooms being small and ill-furnished, she hit upon 
a strange way of arranging them. All the doors were 
taken away, all the movables carried off, the walls were 
covered with evergreens, through the leaves of which 
peeped the light of coloured lamps festooned about 
with garlands of coarse paper flowers. Her passages, 
parlours, bedrooms, cupboards, were all adorned en suite^ 
and in odd corners were various surprises intended for 
the amusement of the visitors ; a cage of birds here, a 
stuffed figure in a bower there, water trickling over 
mossy stones into an ivy-covered basin, a shepherdess, 
in white muslin a wreath of roses and a crook, offering 
ices, a Highland laddie in a kilt presenting lemonade, 
a cupid with cake, a gipsy with fruit, intricacies 
contrived so that no one might easily find a way 
through them, while a French horn, or a flute, or a 
harp from different directions served rather to delude 
than to guide the steps "in wandering mazes lost" It 
was very ridiculous, and yet the effect was pretty, and 
the town so amused by the affair that the wits did it all 
into rhyme, and half a dozen poems were written upon 
this Arcadian entertainment, describing the scenes and 
the actors in it in every variety of style. Sir Alexander 
BoswelPs was the cleverest, because so neatly sarcastic. 
My brother's particular friend wrote the prettiest. In 
all, we beauties were enumerated with flattering 

1815] A SHORT ROMANCE 289 

commendation, but in the friends the encomium on me 
was so marked that it drew the attention of all our 
acquaintance, and unluckily for me opened my mother's 

She knew enough of my father's embarrassments to 
feel that my " early establishment " was of importance 
to the future well-being of the rest of us. She was not 
sure of the Bar and the House of Commons answering 
together. She feared another winter in Edinburgh 
might not come, or might not be a gay one, a second 
season be less glorious than the first. She had been 
delighted with the crowd of admirers, but she had 
begun to be annoyed at no serious result following all 
these attentions. She counted the admirers, there was 
no scarcity of them, there were eligibles among them. 
How had it come that they had all slipped away ? 

Poor dear mother 1 while you were straining your 
eyes abroad, it never struck you to use them at home. 
While you slept so quietly in the mornings you were 
unaware that others were awake ; while you dreamed 
of Sheffield gold, and Perthshire acres, and Ross-shire 
principalities, the daughter you intended to dispose of 
for the benefit of the family had been left to enter upon 
a series of sorrows which she never during the whole of 
her after-life recovered from the effects of. 

It is with pain the most extreme pain that I even 
now in my old age revert to this unhappy passage of 
my youth. I was wrong ; my own version of my tale 
will prove my errors ; but at the same time I was 
wronged ay, and more sinned against than sinning. 
I would pass the matter over if I could, but unless 
I related it you would hardly understand my altered 
character ; you would see no reason for my doing and 
not doing much that had been better either undone or 
done differently. You would wonder without compre- 
hending, accuse without excusing ; in short, you would 
know me not. Therefore, with as much fairness as can 
be expected from feelings deeply wounded and ill- 
understood, I will recall the short romance which 
changed all things in life to me. 


290 FIRST LOVE [1815 

The first year William was at college he made the 
acquaintance of a young man a few years older than 
himself, son of one of the professors. His friend was 
tall, dark, handsome, engaging in his manners, agreeable 
in conversation, and considered to possess abilities 
worthy of the talented race to which he belonged. The 
Bar was to be his profession, more by way of occupation 
for him in the meanwhile than for any need he would 
have to practise law for a livelihood. He was an only son, 
his father was rich, his mother had been an heiress, and he 
was the heir of an old, nearly bedrid bachelor uncle who 
possessed a landed property on the banks of the Tweed. 

Was it fair, when a marriage was impossible, to let 
two young people pass day after day for months 
together? My brother, introduced by his friend to the 
professor's family during the first year he was at 
college, soon became intimate in the house. The father 
was very attentive to him, the mother particularly liked 
him, the three sisters, none of them quite young, 
treated him as a relation. William wrote constantly of 
them, and talked so much about them when at the 
Doune for the summer vacation that we rallied him 
perpetually on his excessive partiality, my mother 
frequently joining in our good-humoured quizzing. It 
never struck us that on these occasions my father never 
entered into our pleasantry. 

When we all removed to Edinburgh William lost no 
time in introducing his friend to us ; all took to him ; 
he was my constant partner, joined us in our walks, sat 
with us in the morning, was invited frequently, and 
sometimes asked to stay for the family dinner. It 
never entered my head that his serious attentions would 
be disagreeable, nor did it enter my mother's, I believe, 
that such would ever grow out of our brother-and-sister 
intimacy. I made acquaintance with the sisters and 
exchanged calls as young ladies did then in Edinburgh ; 
and then I first thought it odd that the seniors of each 
family, so particularly obliging as they were to the 
junior members of each other's households, made no 
move towards an acquaintance on their own parts. 

1815] COLD WATER 291 

The gentlemen, much occupied with their affairs, were 
excusable, but the ladies what could prevent the 
common forms of civility between them? I had by 
this time become shy of making any remarks on them, 
but Jane, who had marvelled too, asked my mother the 
question. -My mother's answer was quite satisfactory. 
She was the latest comer, it was not her place to call 
first on old residents. I had no way of arriving at the 
reasons on the other side, but the fact of the non- 
intercourse annoyed me, and caused me frequently a 
few moments more of thought than I was in the habit 
of indulging in. Then came Miss Baillie's/^, and the 
poem in which I figured so gracefully. It was in every 
mouth, for in itself it was a gem. None but a lover 
could have mingled so much tenderness with his 

On the poet's next visit my mother received him 
coldly. At our next meeting she declined his attend- 
ance. At the next party she forbade my dancing with 
him : " after the indelicate manner in which he had 
brought my name before the public in connection with 
his own, it was necessary to meet such forwardness 
with a reserve that would keep his presumption at a 
proper distance." I listened in silence, utterly dismayed, 
and might have submitted sorrowfully and patiently, 
but she went too far. She added that she was not 
asking much of me, for " this disagreeable young man 
had no attaching qualities; he was not good-looking, 
nor well-bred, nor clever, nor much considered by 
persons of judgment, and certainly by birth no way the 
equal of a Grant of Rothiemurchus ! " 

I left the room, flew to my own little attic (what a 
comfort that corner all to myself was then !), I laid my 
head upon my bed, vainly trying to keep back the 
tears. The words darted through my brain, " all false, 
quite false what can it be ? what will become of us ? " 
Long I stayed there till a new turn took me, the turn of 
unmitigated anger. Were we puppets, to be moved 
about by strings ? Were we supposed to have neither 
sense nor feeling? Was I so poor in heart as to be 


able to like to-day, to loathe to-morrow ? so deficient as 
to be incapable of seeing with my own eyes? This 
long familiar intimacy permitted, then suddenly broken 
upon false pretences ! " They don't know me," thought 
I ; alas ! I did not know myself. To my mother 
throughout that memorable day I never articulated one 
syllable. My father was in London. 

My first determination was to see my poet and 
inquire of him whether he were aware of any private 
enmity between our houses. Fortunately he also had 
decided on seeking an interview with me in order to 
find out what it was that my mother had so suddenly 
taken amiss in him. Both so resolved, we made the 
meeting out, and a pretty Romeo and Juliet business it 
ended in. 

There was an ancient feud, a college quarrel 
between our fathers which neither had ever made a 
movement to forgive. It was more guessed at from 
some words his mother had dropped than clearly 
ascertained, but so much he had too late discovered, 
that a more intimate connection would be as distasteful 
to the one side as to the other. 

We were young, we were very much in love, we 
were hopeful ; life looked so fair, it had been latterly so 
happy, we could conceive of no old resentments between 
parents that would not yield to the welfare of their 
children. He remembered that his father's own 
marriage had been an elopement followed by forgiveness 
and a long lifetime of conjugal felicity. I recollected 
my mother telling me of the Montague and Capulet 
feud between the Neshams and the Ironsides, how my 
grandfather had sped so ill for years in his wooing, and 
how my grandmother's constancy had carried the day, 
and how all parties had "as usual" been reconciled. 
Also when my father had been reading some of the old 
comedies to us, and hit upon the Clandestine Marriage, 
though he effected to reprobate the conduct of Miss 
Fanny, his whole sympathy was with her and her friend 
Lord Ogleby, so that he leaned very lightly on her 
error. He would laugh so merrily too at the old ballads, 


" Whistle and I'll come to ye, my lad," " Low doun i' 
the broom," etc. These lessons had made quite as 
much impression as more moral ones. So, reassured 
by these arguments, we agreed to wait, to keep up our 
spirits, to be true to each other, and to trust to the 
chapter of accidents. 

In all this there was nothing wrong, but a secret 
correspondence in which we indulged was certainly not 
right. We knew we should meet but seldom, never 
without witnesses, and I had not the resolution to 
refuseMhe only method left us of softening our separa- 
tion. One of these stray notes from him to me was 
intercepted by my mother, and some of the expressions 
employed were so startling to her that in a country like 
Scotland, where so little constitutes a marriage, she 
almost feared we had bound ourselves sufficiently to 
cause considerable annoyance, to say the least of it. 
She therefore consulted Lord Gillies as her confidential 
adviser, and he had a conference with Lord Glenlee, the 
trusted lawyer on the other side, and then the young 
people were spoken to, to very little purpose. 

What passed in the other house I could only guess 
at from after-circumstances. In ours, Lord Gillies was 
left by my mother in the room with me ; he was always 
gruff, cold, short in manner, and no favourite with me, 
he was therefore ill selected for the task of inducing a 
young lady to give up her lover. I heard him respect- 
fully, of course, the more so as he avoided all blame of 
either of us, neither did he attempt to approve of the 
conduct of our elders ; he restricted his arguments to 
the inexperience of youth, the insurmountable aversion 
of the two fathers, the cruelty of severing family ties, 
dividing those who had hitherto lived lovingly together, 
the indecorum of a woman entering a family which not 
only would not welcome her, but the head of which 
repudiated her. He counselled me, by every considera- 
tion of propriety, affection, and duty, to give "this 
foolish matter up." 

"Ah, Lord Gillies," thought I, "did you give up 
Elizabeth Carnegie ? did she give you up ? When you 


dared not meet openly, what friend abetted you 
secretly ? " I wish I had had the courage to say this, 
but I was so abashed, so nervous, that words would not 
come. I was silent. 

To my mother I found courage to say that I had 
heard no reasons which would move me to break the 
word solemnly given, the troth plighted, and could only 
repeat that we were resigned to wait. 

Lord Glenlee made as little progress ; he had had 
more of a storm to encounter, indignation having 
produced eloquence. Affairs therefore remained at a 
standstill. The fathers kept aloof mine indeed was 
still in London ; but the mothers agreed to meet and 
see what could be managed through their agency. 
Nothing satisfactory. I would promise nothing, sign 
nothing, change nothing, without an interview with my 
betrothed to hear from his own lips his wishes. As if 
my mind had flown to meet his, he made exactly the 
same reply to similar importunities. No interview 
would be granted, so there we stopped again. 

At length his mother proposed to come and see me, 
and to bring with her a letter from him, which I was to 
burn in her presence after reading, and might answer, 
and she would carry the answer back on the same terms. 
I knew her well, for she had been always kind to me and 
had encouraged my intimacy with her daughters ; she 
had known nothing of my greater intimacy with her son. 
The letter was very lover-like, very tender to me, very 
indignant with every one else, very undutiful and very 
devoted, less patient than we had agreed on being, more 
audacious than I dared to be. I read it in much 
agitation read it, and then laid it on the fire. " And 
now before you answer it, my poor dear child," said this 
sensible and excellent woman, " listen to the very few 
words I must say to you," and then in the gentlest 
manner, but rationally and truthfully, she laid before me 
all the circumstances of our unhappy case, and bade me 
judge for myself on what was fitting for me to do. She 
indeed altered all my high resolves, annihilated all my 
hopes, yet she soothed while she probed, and she called 


forth feelings of duty, of self-respect, of proper self- 
sacrifice, in place of the mere passion that had hitherto 
governed me. She told me she would have taken me to 
er heart as a daughter, for the good disposition that 
shone through some imperfections, and for the true love 
I bore her son, but her husband would never do so, nor 
endure an alliance with my father's child. They had 
been friends, intimate friends, in their college days ; 
they had quarrelled, on what grounds neither had been 
known to give to any human being the most distant 
hint ; but in proportion to their former affection was the 
inveteracy of their after-dislike. All communication 
was over between them, they met as strangers, and were 
never known to allude to each other. My father had 
written to my mother that he would rather see me in 
the grave than the wife of that man's son. Her husband 
had said to her that if that marriage took place he 
would never speak to his son again, never notice him, 
nor allow of his being noticed by the family. She told 
me her husband had a vindictive as well as a violent 
temper, and that she suspected there must be a touch of 
the same disposition in my father, or so determined an 
enmity could not have existed. They felt that they 
were wrong, as was evidenced by the extra attention 
each had paid the other's children. At their age she 
feared there was no cure. She came to tell me the 
whole truth, to show me that, with such feelings active 
against us, nothing but serious unhappiness lay before 
us, in which distress all connections must expect to 
share. She said we had been cruelly used, most 
undesignedly ; she blamed neither so far, but she had 
satisfied her judgment that the peculiar situation of the 
families now demanded from me this sacrifice ; I must 
set free her son, he could not give me up honourably. 
She added that great trials produced great characters, 
that fine natures rose above difficulties, that few women, 
or men either, wedded their first love, that these 
disappointments were salutary. She said what she 
liked, for I seldom answered her; my doom was 
sealed ; I was not going to bring misery in my train to 


any family, to divide it and humiliate myself, destroy 
perhaps the future of the man I loved. The picture of 
the old gentleman too was far from pleasing, and may 
have affected, though unconsciously, the timid nature 
that was now so crushed. I told her I would write what 
she dictated, sign Lord Glenlee's " renunciation," 
promise to hold no secret communication with her son. 
I kept my word ; she took back a short note in which, 
for the reasons his mother would explain to him, I gave 
him back his troth. He wrote, and I never opened his 
letter ; he came and I would not speak, but as a cold 
acquaintance. What pain it was to me those who have 
gone through the same ordeal alone could comprehend. 
His angry disappointment was the worst to bear ; I felt 
it was unjust, and yet it could not be explained away, or 
pacified. I caught a cold luckily, and kept my room 
awhile. I think I should have died if I had not been 
left to rest a bit. 

My father on his return from London never once 
alluded to this heart-breaking subject; I think he felt 
for me, for he was v more considerate than usual. He 
bought a nice pony and took me rides, sent me twice a 
week to Seafield for warm baths, and used to beg me off 
the parties, saying I had been racketed to death, when 
my mother would get angry and say such affecta- 
tion was unendurable girls in her day did as they were 
bid without fancying themselves heroines. She was 
very hard upon me, and I am sure I did not provoke 
her ; I was utterly stricken down. What weary days 
dragged on till the month of July brought the change to 
the Highlands I 

Had I been left in quiet to time, my own sense of 
duty, my conviction of having acted rightly, a natural 
spring of cheerfulness, with occupation, change, etc., 
would have acted together to restore lost peace of mind, 
and the lesson, severe as it was, would have certainly 
worked for good, had it done no more than to have 
sobered a too sanguine disposition. Had my father's 
judicious silence been observed by all, how much happier 
would it have been for every one ! Miss Elphick 


returned to us in June, and I fancy received from my 
mother her version of my delinquencies, for what I had 
to endure in the shape of rubs, snubs, and sneers and 
impertinences, no impulsive temper such as mine could 
possibly have put up with. My poor mother dealt too 
much in the hard-hit line herself, and she worried me 
with another odious lover. Defenceless from being 
blamable, for I should have entered into no engagement 
unsanctioned, I had only to bear in silence this never- 
ending series of irritations. Between them, I think 
they crazed me; my own faults slid into the shade 
comfortably shrouded behind the cruelties of which I 
was the victim, and all my corruption rising, I actually 
in sober earnest formed a deliberate plan to punish my 
principal oppressor not Miss Elphick, she could get a 
slap or two very well by the way. My resolve was to 
wound my mother where she was most vulnerable, to 
tantalise her with the hope of what she most wished for, 
and then to disappoint her. I am ashamed now to 
think of the state of mind I was in ; I was astray 
indeed, with none to guide me, and I suffered for it ; 
but I caused suffering, and that satisfied me. It was 
many a year yet before my rebellious spirit learned to 
kiss the rod. 

In journeying to the Highlands we were to stop at 
Perth. We reached this pretty town early, and were 
surprised by a visit from Mr Anderson Blair, a young 
gentleman possessing property in the Carse of Cowrie, 
with whom our family had got very intimate during the 
winter. William was not with us, he had gone on a 
tour through the West Highlands with a very nice 
person, a college friend, an Englishman. He came to 
Edinburgh as Mr Shore, rather later than was 
customary, for he was by no means so young as 
William and others attending the classes, but being 
rich, having no profession, and not college-bred, he 
thought a term or two under our professors our 
University was then deservedly celebrated would be 
a profitable way of passing idle time. Just before he 
and my brother set out in their tandem with their 


servants, a second large fortune was left to this favoured 
son of a mercantile race, for which, however, he had to 
take the ridiculous name of Nightingale. 

Mr Blair owed this well-sounding addition to the 
more humble Anderson, borne by all the other branches 
of his large and prosperous family, to the bequest of an 
old relation. Her legacy was very inferior in amount to 
the one left to Mr Nightingale, but the pretty estate of 
Inchyra with a good modern house overlooking the Tay, 
was part of it, and old Mr John Anderson, the father, 
was supposed to have died rich. He was therefore a 
charming escort for my mother about the town ; we had 
none of us ever seen so much of Perth before. We were 
taken to sights of all kinds, to shops among the rest, 
and Perth being famous for whips and gloves, while we 
admired Mr Blair bought, and Jane and I were desired 
to accept each a very pretty riding-whip, and a packet 
of gloves was divided between us. Of course our gallant 
acquaintance was invited to dinner. 

The walk had been so agreeable, the weather was so 
extremely beautiful, it was proposed, I can hardly tell 
by whom, to drive no farther than to Dunkeld next 
morning, 5 and spend the remainder of the day in 
wandering through all the beautiful grounds along the 
miles and miles of walks conducted by the river-side 
through the wood and up the mountains. " Have you 
any objection to such an arrangement, Eli ? " said my 
father to me. " I, papa ! none in the world." It just 
suited my tactics ; accordingly so it was settled, and a 
very enjoyable day we spent. The scenery is exquisite, 
every step leads to new beauties, and after the wander- 
ings of the morning it was but a change of pleasure to 
return to the quiet inn at Inver to dine and rest, and 
have Neil Gow in the evening to play the violin. It 
was the last time we were there ; the next time we 
travelled the road the new bridge over the Tay at 
Dunkeld was finished, the new inn, the Duke's Arms, 
opened, the ferry and the inn at Inver done up, and Neil 
Gow dead. 

Apropos of the Duke's Arms, ages after, when our 

1816] BACK AT THE DOUNE 299 

dear amusing uncle Ralph was visiting us in the High- 
lands, he made a large party laugh, as indeed he did 
frequently, by his comical way of turning dry facts into 
fun. A coach was started by some enterprising 
individual to run between Dunkeld and Blair during 
the summer season, which announcement my uncle read 
as if from the advertisement in the newspaper as follows : 
" Pleasing intelligence. The Duchess of Athole starts 
every morning from the Duke's Arms at eight o'clock. 
. . ." There was no need to manufacture any more 
of the sentence. 

Our obliging friend left us with the consolatory 
information that we should meet again before the I2th 
of August, as a letter from Mr Nightingale had brought 
his agreement to a plan for them to spend the autumn 
in the Highlands. They had taken the Invereshie 
shootings, and were to lodge at the Dell of Killiehuntly 
with John and Betty Campbell. 

Our first three weeks at home were very quiet, no 
company arriving, and my father being absent at Inver- 
ness, Forres, Garmouth, etc., on business. We had all 
our humble friends to see, all our favourite spots to visit. 
To me the repose was delightful, and had I been spared 
all those unkind jibes, my irritated feelings might have 
calmed down and softened my temper ; exasperated as 
they continually were by the most cutting allusions, the 
persuasion that I had been most unjustly treated and 
was now suffering unjustly for the faults of others, grew 
day by day stronger and stronger, and estranged me 
completely from those of the family who so perpetually 
annoyed me. Enough of this ; so it was, blame me 
who will. 

After this quiet beginning our Highland autumn set 
in gaily. The loth of August filled every house in the 
country in preparation for the I2th. Kinrara was full, 
though Lord Huntly had not come with the 
Marchioness ; some family business detained him in 
the south, or he made pretence of it, in order that his 
very shy wife might have no assistance in doing the 
honours, and so rub off some of the awkward reserve 

300 RIVAL BODACHS [1815 

which so much annoyed him. Belleville was full, the 
inns were full, the farm-houses attached to the shootings 
let were full, the whole country was alive, and Mr 
Nightingale, Mr Blair, and my brother arrived at the 
Doune. Other guests succeeded them, and what with 
rides and walks in the mornings, dinners and dances in 
the evenings, expeditions to distant lochs or glens or 
other picturesque localities, the Pitmain Tryst and the 
Inverness Meeting, a merrier shooting season was never 
passed. So every one said. I do not remember any 
one person as very prominent among the crowd, nor 
anything very interesting by way of conversation. The 
Battle of Waterloo and its heroes did duty for all else, 
our Highlanders having had their full share of its 

We ladies went up for the first time this year to 
Glen Ennich, our shooting friends with us. The way 
lay through the birch wood to Tullochgrue, past 
Macalpine's well and a corner of the fir forest and a wide 
heath, till we reached the banks of the Luinach, up the 
rapid course of which we went till the heath narrowed 
to a glen, rocks and hills closed in upon us, and we 
came upon a sheet of water terminating the cut de sac t 
fed by a cataract tumbling down for ever over the face 
of the precipice at the end of it. All the party rode on 
ponies caught about the country, each rider attended by 
a man at the bridle-head. 

A very pleasant day we passed, many merry 
adventures of course taking place in so singular a 
cavalcade. We halted at a fine spring to pass round a 
refreshing drink of whisky and water, but did not unload 
our sumpter-horses till we reached the granite-pebbled 
shore of the Loch. Fairy tales belong to this beautiful 
wilderness ; the steep rock on the one hand is the 
dwelling of the Bodach of the Scarigour, and the castle- 
like row of precipitous banks on the other is the domain 
of the Bodach of the Corriegowanthill titles of honour 
these in fairyland, whose high condition did not however 
prevent their owners from quarrelling, for no mortal ever 
gained the good graces of the one without offending the 


other, loud laughing mockery ever rilling the glen from 
one potentate or the other, whenever their territories 
were invaded after certain hours. Good Mr Stalker the 
dominie had been prevented from continuing his fishing 
there by the extreme rudeness of the Corriegowanthill, 
although encouraged by his opposite neighbour and 
fortified by several glasses of stiff grog. We met with 
no opposition from either ; probably the Laird and all 
belonging to him were unassailable. We had a stroll 
and our luncheon, and we filled our baskets with those 
delicious delicate char which abound in Loch Ennich, 
and returned gaily home in safety. 

The Inverness Meeting was a bad one, I recollect, 
no new beauties, a failure of old friends, and a dearth of 
the family connections. My last year's friend, the new 
member for Ross-shire, Mr Mackenzie of Applecross, 
was at this Meeting, more agreeable than ever, but 
looking extremely ill. I introduced him by desire to 
my cousin Charlotte Rose, who got on with him 
capitally. He was a plain man, and he had a buck 
tooth to which some one had called attention, and it 
was soon the only topic spoken of, for an old prophecy 

ran that whenever a mad Lovat, a childless , and an 

Applecross with a buck tooth met, there would be an 
end of Seaforth. The buck tooth all could see, the mad 

Lovat was equally conspicuous, and though Mrs 

had two handsome sons born after several years of 
childless wedlock, nobody ever thought of fathering 
them on her husband. In the beginning of this year 
Seaforth, the Chief of the Mackenzies, boasted of two 
promising sons; both were gone, died within a few 
months of each other. The Chieftainship went to 
another branch, but the lands and the old Castle of 
Brahan would descend after Lord Seaforth's death to 
his daughter, Lady Hood an end of Caber-Feigh. 
This made every one melancholy, and the deaths of 
course kept many away from the Meeting. 


WE put all our home affairs in order for our long 
absence, and then we set out for Edinburgh. My 
father had taken there the most disagreeable house 
possible; a large gloomy No. n in Queen Street, on 
the front of which the sun never shone, and which was 
so built against behind that there was no free circulation 
of air through it. It belonged to Lady Augusta 
Clavering, once Campbell, one of the handsome sisters 
of the handsome Duke of Argyll, who had run off from 
a masquerade with a lover who made her bitterly repent 
she ever took him for a husband. It was comfortable 
within, plenty of rooms in it, four good ones on a floor, 
but they did not communicate. The drawing-room 
was very large, four windows along the side of it. 
There were, however, no convenient rooms for refresh- 
ments for evening parties, so during our stay in it 
nothing could be given but dinners, and very few of 
them, for none of us were in very good-humour. It 
was well for me that my little bedroom was to the 
sunny and quiet back of the house, and on the drawing- 
room floor, for I had to spend many a week in it. A 
long illness beginning with a cold confined me there 
during the early part of the winter, and when I began 
to recover I was so weakened that dear and kind Dr 
Gordon, who had attended me with the affection of a 
brother, positively forbade all hot rooms and late hours. 
It was a sentence I would have wished him to 
pronounce, for I was sick of those everlasting gaieties, 


1816] TWO MARRIAGES 303 

and with his encouragement and the assistance of a few 
other friends I was making for myself, I was able to 
find employment for my time infinitely more agreeable 
than that round of frivolous company. 

We had two pieces of family news to raise our 
spirits. Uncle Edward and Annie Grant were married 
not to each other ! He in Bombay, now a Judge of 
the Sudder, had married a Miss Rawlins, the daughter 
of an old Madras civilian, a highly respectable connec- 
tion ; and she in Bengal, had become the wife of 

Major-General N , commanding at Cawnpore, a 

King's Cavalry officer. I have quite forgot, I see, to 
mention that when we left London she had gone on a 
visit to Mrs Drury, the sister of Mr Hunter, husband of 
one of the Malings. Mrs Drury took such a fancy to 
her that she would not part with her, at least not to a 
house of business. She proposed to my father to equip 
her for India. She went out with Miss Stairs, sister to 
Lady Bury and Mrs Vine, and she was received by Mrs 
Irwine Maling, from whose house she married. 

We were inundated this whole winter with a deluge 
of a dull ugly colour called Waterloo blue, copied from 
the dye used in Flanders for the calico of which the 
peasantry made their smock-frocks or blouses. Every- 
thing new was "Waterloo," not unreasonably, it had 
been such a victory, such an event, after so many years 
of exhausting suffering; and as a surname to hats, 
coats, trousers, instruments, furniture, it was very well 
a fair way of trying to perpetuate tranquillity ; but to 
deluge us with that vile indigo, so unbecoming even to 
the fairest ! It was really a punishment ; none of us 
were sufficiently patriotic to deform ourselves by 
wearing it. The fashions were remarkably ugly this 
season. I got nothing new, as I went out so little, till 
the spring, then white muslin frocks were the most 
suitable dress for the small parties then given. There 
was a dearth of news, too, a lull after the war excite- 
ment; or my feeling stupid might make all seem so. 
I know my memory recollects this as a disagreeable 
winter. The lawyers were busy with a contemplated 


change in the Jury Court. Trial by jury in civil cases 
had not, up to this date, been the custom in Scotland. 
In penal cases the Scotch jury law so far differed from 
the English that a majority of voices convicted the 
prisoner; unanimity was unnecessary; and this, which 
many sagacious lawyers considered the better rule, was 
not to be interfered with, it was only to be extended to 
civil cases. The machinery of the Courts of Justice had 
of course to be slightly altered for this change of system. 
If I remember rightly, two new Barons were required, 
and a Chief Baron, whom we had never had before. 
Sir William Shepherd, from the London Bar, was sent 
in this capacity to set it all going. His very English 
wife came with him, and amused us more than I can 
tell with her cockneyisms. He was very agreeable. 
It may seem beyond the range of a girl of my then age 
to have entered into so grave a subject, but this sort of 
topic was becoming my business. I wrote quickly and 
clearly, and seldom made mistakes ; my father, though 
he had a clerk, frequently found it suit him to employ 
me as his more private secretary. I even helped him 
to correct the press for some of his pamphlets, sought 
out and marked his references, and could be trusted to 
make necessary notes. I delighted in this occupation, 
and was frequently indulged in it both in town and 
country at such odd times as help was wanted. Indeed 
from henceforward I was his assistant in almost all 
employments work much more to my mind than that 
eternal " outing." 

In July we returned to the Doune. We had not 
many visitors, so far as I recollect. The country was 
filled with half-pay officers, many of them returned 
wounded to very humble homes in search of a renewal 
of the health they had bartered for glory. A few 
of these had been raised to a rank they were certainly 
far from adorning ; very unfit claimants got com- 
missions occasionally in those war days. Lord Huntly 
had most improperly so advanced one or two of his 
servants' sons, and in the German legion there had 
been two lieutenants who began life as carpenter's 


apprentices to Donald Maclean. One of these, Sandy 
Macbean, who lived the rest of his days at Guislich 
under the title of the Offisher, attended the church very 
smart, and dined once every season at our table as was 
now his due, had helped to alter the staircase with the 
same hands that afterwards held his sword. 

Kinrara was very full this season, and very pleasant. 
The charming Duchess, whose heart was in the High- 
lands, had left orders to be buried on the banks of the 
Spey in a field she had herself planted out. Lord 
Huntly planted a few larch round the enclosure, but 
Lady Huntly laid out a beautiful shrubbery and 
extended the plantation, making paths through it 
The grave was covered by a plain marble slab, but 
behind this rose a stunted obelisk of granite, having on 
its front by way of inscription the names of all hei 
children with their marriages ; this was by her own 
desire. Her youngest son, Alexander, died unmarried 
before herself; Lord Huntly she left a bachelor. Her 
four younger daughters had all made distinguished 
connections ; the eldest, and the best bred amongst 
them, showed to less effect among the list of great 
names, but then she had two husbands to make up for 
their being commoners. The first, Sir John Sinclair of 
Murkle, was her cousin ; they had one child only, the 
merry sailor son whom every one was fond of. The 
second husband was a Mr Palmer of Bedfordshire. The 
second daughter was Duchess of Richmond, the third 
Duchess of Manchester, the fourth Marchioness of Corn- 
wallis, the fifth Duchess of Bedford. When the Duchess of 
Manchester was driven from the house of the husband 
she had disgraced, she left behind her two sons, and six 
daughters placed by their father under the care of a 
governess to be superintended by the Dowager 
Duchess ; the boys were at Eton. The eldest of these 
girls, however, Lady Jane Montague, had almost always 
lived with her other grandmother, the Duchess of 
Gordon. She it was who danced the Shean Trews, and 
trotted over to the Doune on her pony as often nearly 
as she stayed at home. My father and mother were 



dotingly fond of her, for she was a fine natural creature, 
quite unspoiled. When our Duchess, as we always 
called her, died, Lady Jane was not happy at home 
with her younger sisters and their governess ; she went 
to live with her aunt the Duchess of Bedford, and was 
shortly announced to be on the point of marriage with 
the second of the Duke's three sons by his first wife 
Lord William Russell. Next we heard she was very ill, 
consumptive dying and that kind aunt took her to 
Nice, and attended her like a mother till she laid her in 
her grave. It was a grief to every one that knew her, 
particularly those who had watched the fair show of her 

The second of these deserted girls was now of an 
age to be introduced into society, and Lord and Lady 
Huntly brought her with them to Kinrara. No, it was 
the third, Lady Susan, a beautiful creature ; the second, 
Lady Elizabeth, was just married to a handsome 
Colonel Steele, with whom she had become acquainted 
through her governess. It was on Lady Susan's 
account that Kinrara was made so particularly agree- 
able. There were plenty of morning strolls and 
evening dances, a little tour of visits afterwards, all 
ending in her engagement to the Marquis of Tweed- 
dale, a man liked I believe by men, and it was said by 
some women of extraordinary taste, to my mind ; for, 
thick-set and square-built and coarse-mannered, with 
that flat Maitland face which when it once gets into a 
family never can be got out of it, he was altogether the 
ugliest boxer or bruiser-looking sort of common order 
of prize-fighter that ever was seen out of a ring. Yet 
he had a kind manner and a pleasant smile, and he 
made a tender husband to this sweet gentle creature, 
who accepted him of her own free will and never 
regretted the union. 

Neither house went to the Tryst this year, nor 
to the Meeting. Lady Susan's approaching marriage 
prevented any public displays from Kinrara, and my 
father having been called to a distance on business the 
Doune did not care to exhibit without him. 


In November 1816 we travelled back to Edinburgh 
to take possession of Sir John Hay's house in George 
Street, an infinitely more agreeable winter residence 
than Lady Augusta Covering's very gloomy old barrack 
in Queen Street. It was an excellent family house, 
warm, cheerful, and airy, with abundant accommodation 
for a larger party than ours ; but there was the same 
fault of only one drawing-room and a small study off it. 
Perhaps my father wanted no space for a ball. The 
town was much fuller than it had been before, of course 
gayer, many very pleasant people were added to our 
society. War was over, all its anxieties, all its sorrows 
had passed away, and though there must have been 
many sad homes made for ever, in a degree, desolate, 
these individual griefs did not affect the surface of our 
cheerful world. The bitterness of party still prevailed 
too much in the town, estranging many who would 
have been improved by mixing more with one another. 
Also it was a bad system that divided us all into small 
coteries ; the bounds were not strictly defined, and far 
from strictly kept ; still, the various little sections were 
all there, apart, each small set over-valuing itself and 
under-valuing its neighbours. There was the fashion- 
able set, headed by Lady Gray of Kinfauns, Lady 
Molesworth unwillingly admitted, her sister Mrs Munro, 
and several other regular party-giving women, seeming 
to live for crowds at home and abroad. Lady Moles- 
worth, the fast daughter of a managing manoeuvring 
mother, very clever, no longer young, ran off with 
a boy at college of old Cornish family and large fortune, 
and made him an admirable wife for he was little 
beyond a fool and gave him a clever son, the present 
Sir William Molesworth. Within, or beyond this, was 
an exclusive set, the Macleods of Macleod, Cumming- 
Gordons, Shaw-Stewarts, Murrays of Ochtertyre, etc. 
Then there was a card-playing set, of which old Mrs 
Oliphant of Rossie was the principal support, assisted 
by her daughters Mrs Grant of Kilgraston and Mrs 
Veitch, Mr and Mrs Massie, Mr and Mrs Richmond 
(she was sister to Sir Thomas Liddell, Lord Ravens- 

308 THE LORD PROVOST [1816-17 

worth), Miss Sinclair of Murkle the Duchess of Gordon's 
first cousin and the image of her, Sam Anderson and 
others. By the bye, Mrs Richmond was the heroine 
of the queer story in Mr Ward's Tremaine, and she 
actually did wear the breeches. Then there was a 
quiet country-gentleman set, Lord and Lady Wemyss, 
all the Campbells, Lord and Lady Murray, Sir James 
and Lady Helen Hall, Sir John and Lady Stewart 
Hay, and so forth. A literary set, including college 
professors, authors, and others pleased so to represent 
themselves ; a clever set with Mrs Fletcher ; the law 
set; strangers, and inferiors. All shook up together 
they would have done very well. Even when partially 
mingled they were very agreeable. When primmed up, 
each phalanx apart, on two sides of the turbulent 
stream of politics, arrayed as if for battle, there was 
really some fear of a clash at times. We were so 
fortunate as to skim the cream, I think, off all varieties ; 
though my father publicly was violent in his Whiggism 
he did not let it interfere with the amenities of private 
life, and my mother kept herself quite aloof from all 
party work. 

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh was seldom in any 
of these sets ; he was generally a tradesman of repute 
among his equals, and in their society he was content 
to abide. This year the choice happened to fall on 
a little man of good family, highly connected in the 
mercantile world, married to an Inverness Alves, and 
much liked. I don't remember what his pursuit was, 
whether he was a banker, or agent for the great 
Madras house his brother George was the head of, but 
he was a kind hospitable man, his wife Mrs Arbuthnot 
very Highland, and they were general favourites. He 
was chosen Provost again when his three years were 
out, so he received the king, George IV., on his 
memorable visit, and was made a baronet. Just before 
him we had had Sir John Marjoribanks of Lees, 
mercantile too. After him, the Town Council went 
back to their own degree. The name amongst us for 
Sir William Arbuthnot was Dicky Gossip, and richly 


he deserved it, for he knew all that was doing every- 
where to everybody, all that was pleasant to know ; 
a bit of ill-nature or a bit of ill-news he never uttered. 
After a visit from him and his excellent wife they 
were fond of going about together a deal of what 
was going on seemed to have suddenly enlightened 
their listeners, and most agreeably. A tale of scandal 
never spread from them, nor yet a sarcasm. They, 
from their situation, saw a great deal of company 
and no parties could be pleasanter than those they 

There were very few large balls given this winter. 
Lady Gray, Mrs Grant of Kilgraston, Mrs Macleod, 
and a few others retained this old method of entertain- 
ing. A much more pleasant style of smaller parties 
had come into fashion with the new style of dancing. 
It was the first season of quadrilles, against the intro- 
duction of which there had been a great stand made by 
old-fashioned respectables. Many resisted the new 
French figures altogether, and it was a pity to give up 
the merry country dance, in which the warfare between 
the two opinions resulted ; but we young people were 
all bit by the quadrille mania, and I was one of the 
set that brought them first into notice. We practised 
privately by the aid of a very much better master than 
Mr Smart. Finlay Dunn had been abroad, and 
imported all the most graceful steps from Paris; and 
having kept our secret well, we burst upon the world at 
a select reunion at the White Melvilles', the spectators 
standing on the chairs and sofas to admire us. People 
danced in those days ; we did not merely stand and 
talk, look about bewildered for our vis-k-vis, return to 
our partners either too soon or too late, without any 
regard to the completion of the figure, the conclusion 
of the measure, or the step belonging to it ; we attended 
to our business, we moved in cadence, easily and 
quietly, embarrassing no one and appearing to advan- 
tage ourselves. We were only eight; Mr White 
Melville and Nancy Macleod opposite to Charles 
Cochrane and me, Johnnie Melville and Charles 

310 BASIL HALL [1816-17 

Macleod with Fanny Hall and Miss Melville. So well 
did we all perform, that our exhibition was called for 
and repeated several times in the course of the evening. 
We had no trouble in enlisting co-operators, the rage 
for quadrilles spread, the dancing-master was in every 
house, and every other style discarded. Room being 
required for the display, much smaller parties were 
invited. Two, or at most three, instruments sufficed 
for band, refreshments suited better than suppers, an 
economy that enabled the inviters to give three or 
four of these sociable little dances at less cost than one 
ball ; it was every way an improvement. My mother 
gave several of these small parties so well suited to the 
accommodation of our house, and at no cost to my 
father, uncle Edward having sent her for the purpose of 
being spent in any way she liked upon her daughter, a 
hundred pounds. 

At our little parties Jane came out amazingly ; she 
was never shy, always natural and gay and clever, and 
though not strictly handsome, she looked so bright, so 
well, with her fine eyes and her rosy lips, she was in 
extreme request with all our beaux. To the old set of 
the two former winters I had added considerably 
during the course of this more sociable one, and Jane 
went shares whenever she was seen. She carried one 
altogether away from me, the celebrated Basil Hall. 
He had this very year returned from Loo Choo, had 
published his book, brought home flat needles, and 
cloth made from wood, and a funny cap which he put 
on very good-humouredly, and chop-sticks with which 
he ate very obligingly; in short, he did the polite 
voyager to no end. Jane was quite taken with him, so 
was Jane Hunter ; Margaret Hunter and I used to be 
amused with them and him, and wonder how they 
could wait on the lion so perseveringly. He was the 
second son of Sir James Hall, a man not actually crazy, 
but not f ar from it ; so given up to scientific pursuits as 
to be incapable of attending to his private affairs. 
They were in consequence much disordered, and they 
would have been entirely deranged but for the care of 


his wife, Lady Helen. Sir James had lately published 
a truly ingenious work, an attempt to deduce Gothic 
architecture from the original wigwams made of reeds. 
The drawings were beautifully executed, not by himself, 
I fancy, and by them he showed clearly the fluted 
pillars of stone copied from faggots of osier, groined 
arches from the slender shoots bent over and tied 
together, buds originating ornaments ; a fanciful theory 
maybe, yet with some show of reason in it. 

Dr Hope was the professor of chemistry, an old 
admirer of my aunt Mary's, and still the flutterer round 
every new beauty that appeared. I preferred him to 
Professor Leslie because he was clean, but not to 
Professor Playfair ; he, old, ugly, and absent, was 
charming, fond of the young who none of them feared 
him, glad to be drawn away from his mathematical 
difficulties to laugh over a tea-table with such as Jane 
and me. We were favourites too with Dr Brewster, 
who was particularly agreeable, and with John Clerk, 
who called Jane, Euphrosyne, and with Mr Jeffrey with 
whom we gradually came to spend a great deal of time. 
I had Lord Buchan all to myself though, he cared for 
no one else in the house. He lived very near us, and 
came in most mornings in his shepherd's plaid, with his 
long white hair flowing over his shoulders, to give me 
lessons in behaviour. If he were pleased he would 
bring out some curiosity from his pockets a tooth of 
Queen Mary's, a bone of James the Fifth imaginary 
relics he set great store by. How many flighty people 
there were in Scotland ! Neither of his extraordinary 
brothers quite escaped the taint. Lord Erskine and 
Harry Erskine were both of them excited at times. 
At a certain point judgment seems to desert genius. 
Another friend I made this year who remembered to 
ask about me very lately, Adam Hay, now Sir Adam. 
He was Sir John Hay's third son when I knew him. 
John died, Robert the handsome sailor was drowned, so 
the baronetcy fell to Adam. Are not the memoirs of 
the old a catalogue of the deaths of many who were 
young with them ? Adam Hay tried to shake my 


integrity ; he advocated, as he thought, the cause of 
his dearest friend, whose mother, dear excellent woman, 
having died, their sophistry persuaded them so had my 
promise. We had many grave conversations on a sad 
subject, while people thought we were arranging our 
matrimonial excursion. He told me I was blamed, 
and I told him I must bear it ; I did add one day, it 
was no easy burden, he should not seek to make it 
heavier. His own sister, some time after this, succeeded 
to my place; lovely and most lovable she was, and 
truly loved I do believe. Adam Hay told me of it 
when he first knew it, long afterwards, and I said, so 
best ; yet the end was not yet. 

We had a visitor this spring, Colonel d'Este, whom 
we had not seen since the old Prince Augustus days. 
He was as natural as ever, asked himself to dinner, and 
talked of Ramsgate. He had not then given up his 
claim to royalty, therefore there was a little skilful 
arrangement on his part to avoid either assumption or 
renunciation. He entered unannounced, my father 
meeting him at the door and ushering him into the 
room, my mother, and all the ladies on her hint, rising 
till he begged them to be seated. Otherwise he con- 
formed to common usage, and perhaps did not observe 
that we had no finger-glasses ; which reminds me that 
a year or two after when Prince Leopold was at 
Kinrara, Lord Huntly, precise as he was, had forgotten 
to mention to his servants that nobody ever washed 
before royalty, and from the moment that this omission 
struck him, he sat in such an agony as to be incapable 
of his usual happy knack of keeping the ball going. 
Luckily some of the Prince's attendants had an eye to 
all, and stopped the offending crystals on their way. 
I don't know what brought Colonel d'Este to Scotland 
at that time of year, he was probably going to some of 
his mother's relations in the west. I remember Lord 
Abercrombie being asked to meet him, and after 
accepting, he sent an apology; "an unavoidable 
accident which happily would never be repeated " set us 
all off on a train of conjectures wide of the truth, the 


newspapers next day announcing the marriage of this 
grave elderly friend of my father's. 

We left Sir John Hay's house in May; he was 
coming to live in it himself with his pretty daughters ; 
and we went for three months to the house of Mr Allan 
the banker, in Charlotte Square, just while we should 
be considering where to fix for a permanency. Mrs 
Allan was ill, and was going to some watering-place, 
and they were glad to have their house occupied. 
Before we moved we paid two country visits, my father, 
my mother, and I. 

Our first visit was to Dunbar, Lord Lauderdale's, a 
mere family party, to last the two or three days my 
father and my Lord were arranging some political 
matters. They were always brimful of party mysteries, 
having a constant correspondence on these subjects. 
My mother had so lectured me on the necessity of 
being anything but myself on this startling occasion 
that a fit of Kinrara feel came over me for the first 
evening. I was so busy with the way I was to sit, and 
the proper mode to speak the few words I was to say, 
and the attention I was to pay to all the nods and 
winks she was to give me, that a fit of shyness actually 
came on, and my spirits were quite crushed by these 
preliminaries and the curious state of the household we 
fell upon. In the very large drawing-room in which the 
family sat there was plenty of comfortable furniture, 
including an abundance of easy-chairs set in a wide 
circle around the fire. Before each easy-chair was 
placed a stool rather higher than would have been 
agreeable for feet to rest on, but quite suited to the 
purpose it was prepared for the kennel of a dog. I 
don't know how many of these pets the Ladies Maitland 
and their mother were provided with, but a black nose 
peeped out of an opening in the side of every stool on 
the entrance of a visitor, and the barking was incessant. 
At this time four daughters were at home unmarried, 
and two or three sons. One daughter was dead, and 
one had disposed of herself some years before by 
running away with poor, silly, and not wealthy Fraser 


of Torbreck, then quartered at Dunbar with the 
regiment of militia in which he was a captain. This 
proceeding of the Lady Anne quite changed the face of 
affairs in her father's family. 

Lord Lauderdale had rather late in his man-of- 
fashion life married the only child of one Mr Antony 
Tod, citizen of London ; pretty she had never been ; 
she was a nice little painted doll when we knew her, a 
cipher as to intellect, but her fortune had been very 
large, and she was amiable and obedient, and her lord, 
they said, became fond of her and of all the many 
children she brought him. He was not vain, however, 
either of her or of them, he had no reason ; so he kept 
them all living in great retirement at Dunbar, never 
taking any of them with him to town, nor allowing 
them to visit either in Edinburgh or in their own 
neighbourhood, till the elopement of Lady Anne, the 
only beauty. From that sore time Lady Lauderdale 
and her remaining daughters lived much more in 
society. They had begun too to feel their own 
importance, and to venture on opposing my Lord, for 
Mr Tod was dead, and had left to each of his grand- 
children, sons and daughters alike, 15,000; the rest to 
his daughter for her life, with remainder to her eldest 
son, Lord Maitland. To his son-in-law the Earl Mr 
Tod left nothing. Here was power to the weaker side, 
exerted, it was said, occasionally, but they were a 
united happy family, fondly attached to each other. 

The square Maitland face was not improved by the 
Tod connection, though the family finances benefited 
by it. Sons and daughters were alike plain in face and 
short in person. Even Lady Anne, with her really 
lovely countenance, was a dwarf in size and ill-propor- 
tioned ; but there was a very redeeming expression 
generally thrown over the flat features, and they had all 
pleasant manners. The second day went off much 
more agreeably than the first, although I had to bear 
some quizzing on the subject of gambling, and my 
horror of it. In the morning the young people drove, 
rode, or walked ; before dinner the ladies worked a 

1817] HIGH PLAY 315 

little, netting purses and knotting bags ; the gentlemen 
played with the dogs. All the evenings were spent at 
cards, and such high play, brag and loo unlimited. It 
was nothing for fifty or a hundred pounds to change 
hands among them. I was quite ixrrified. My few 
shillings, the first I had called my own for ages, given 
me for the occasion in a new purse bought to hold them, 
were soon gone at brag, under the management of 
Captain Antony Maitland, R.N. He had undertaken to 
teach me the game, of which I had no knowledge, 
for we never saw cards at home except when a whist 
table was made up for Belleville ; and as the eternal cry 
" Anty 1 Anty ! " did not repair my losses, and I sturdily 
refused to borrow, declining therefore to play, and 
composing myself gravely to look on, they could hardly 
keep their countenances ; my whole fortune was such a 
trifle to them. It was not, however, my loss so much as 
what my mother would say to it that disturbed me. 
She was very economical in those little ways, and her 
unwonted liberality upon this occasion would, I knew, 
be referred to ever after as a bar to any further supplies, 
the sum now given having been so squandered. I 
sought her in her room before we went to bed to make 
the confession, fully believing it had been a crime. The 
thoughts of the whole scene make me laugh now, though 
I slept all the better then on being graciously forgiven 
" under the circumstances." 

There was no company, only Sir Philip Dirom, 
arranging his marriage settlements with Lord Lauder- 
dale, the guardian of the bride, the heiress Miss 
Henderson. He was a handsome man, gentlemanly, 
and rather agreeable, not clever in the least, and very 
vain. He had won honours in his profession the navy 
and his latest acquisition, a diamond star of some 
order, was the single object of his thoughts, after Miss 
Henderson's acres. Lord Lauderdale laid a bet that 
Sir Philip would not be two hours in the house without 
producing it; nor was he. In the middle of dinner, 
having dexterously turned the conversation on the 
orders of knighthood, he sent the servant for it, sure, he 


said, that some of the ladies would like to see the pretty 
bauble one of the principal insignia of the Bath I 
suppose it was. Lord Maitland received and handed 
the little red case round with a mock gravity that 
nearly upset the decorum of the company. How little, 
when laughing at these foibles, did we foresee that the 
vain knight's great-niece was to be my cousin Edmund's 
wife, or fancy that he would be so kind, so generous, to 
that thoughtless pair I 

The other visit was only for the day. We did not 
even sleep from home, but returned very late at night, 
for Almondell was twelve miles good from Edinburgh. 
Harry Erskine had added to a small cottage prettily 
situated on the river from which he named his retire- 
ment, and there, tired of politics, he wore away time 
that I believe sometimes lagged with him, in such 
country pursuits as he could follow on an income that 
gave him little beyond the necessaries of life. He and 
Mrs Erskine had no greater pleasure than to receive a 
few friends to an early dinner ; they had a large 
..connection, a choice acquaintance, and were in them- 
selves so particularly agreeable that, company or no, a 
few hours passed with them were always a treat. 

In May we removed to Charlotte Square, a house I 
found the most agreeable of any we had ever lived in in 
Edinburgh ; the shrubbery in front, and the peep from 
the upper windows at the back, of the Firth of Forth 
with its wooded shores and distant hills, made the look- 
out so cheerful. We were in the midst, too, of our 
friends. We made two new acquaintance, the Wolfe 
Murrays next door, and Sir James and Lady Henrietta 
Ferguson in my father's old house, in which Jane and I 
were born. Nothing could be pleasanter than our 
sociable life. The gaiety was over, but every day 
some meeting took place between us young people. 
My mother's tea-table was, I think, the general 
gathering point. In the mornings we made walking 
parties, and one day we went to Rosslyn and Lasswade, 
a merry company. Another day we spent at sea. 

The Captain of the frigate lying in the roads 

1817] JANE'S DEBUT 317 

gallantly determined to make a return to Edinburgh for 
all the attention Edinburgh had paid him. He invited 
all left of his winter acquaintance to a breakfast and a 
dance on board. We drove down to the pier at 
Newhaven in large merry parties, where now the 
splendid Granton pier shames its predecessors, and 
there found boats awaiting us, such a gay little fleet, 
manned by the sailors in their best suits, and we were 
rowed quickly across the sparkling water, for it was 
a beautiful day, and hoisted up upon the deck. There 
an awning was spread, flags, etc., waving, a quadrille 
and a military band all ready, and Jane, who was 
in high good looks, soon took her place among the 
dancers, having been engaged by the little monkey of a 
middy who had piloted us over. The collation was 
below, all along the lower deck ; we sat down to it at 
four o'clock, and then danced on again till midnight, 
plentifully served with refreshments hospitably pressed 
upon us by our entertainers. Sailors are so hearty, and 
every officer of the ship seemed to feel he had the part 
of host to play. There never was a merrier ftte. 

Jane always considered this her dbut. She was 
nicely dressed, was very happy, much admired, and 
danced so well. She and I were never dressed alike ; 
indeed there was then so little resemblance between us 
that probably the same style of dress would not have 
become us. Her figure was not good, yet when any 
one with better taste than herself presided at her 
toilet, it could be made to look light and pleasing; 
her complexion was not good either, at least the skin 
was far from fair, but there was such a bright healthy 
colour in her rounded cheek, and such a pair of deep 
blue brilliant eyes, and such a rosy mouth which 
laughter suited, two such rows of even pearls for teeth, 
she well deserved her names, Euphrosyne and Hebe ; 
and she was such a clever creature, had such a power of 
conversation, without pedantry or blueism, it all flowed 
so naturally from a well-stored head and warm honest 
heart. The little middy's fancy was not the only one 
she touched that day. We were, like the best bred of 

318 GIRLS' DRESSES [1817 

the company, in half dress, with frocks made half high 
and with long sleeves. Jane's frock was abundantly 
flounced, but it had no other trimming ; she wore a 
white belt, and had a hanging bunch of lilacs with a 
number of green leaves in her hair. My frock was 
white too, but all its flounces were headed with pink 
ribbon run through muslin, a pink sash, and all my load 
of hair quite plain. A few unhappy girls were in full 
dress, short sleeves, low necks, white satin shoes. Miss 
Cochrane, the Admiral's daughter, was the most 
properly dressed amongst us ; she was more accustomed 
to the sort of thing. She wore a white well-frilled 
petticoat, an open silk spenser, and a little Swiss hat, 
from one side of which hung a bunch of roses. She and 
the dress together conquered Captain Bailing; they 
were married a few months after. 


[To face page SIS. 


EARLY in July we moved to a large house in Picardy 
Place, No. 8, with four windows in front, a great many 
rooms all of a handsome size, and every accommodation, 
as the advertisements say, for a family of distinction. 
My father took a lease of it for three years, hiring the 
furniture from Mr Trotter. It was a sad change to us 
young people, down in the fogs of Leith, far from any 
country walk, quite away from all our friends, and an 
additional mile from Craigcrook too, measuring both 
ways. We had got very intimate with Mr and Mrs 
Jeffrey, Jane and I, and we had frequently from 
Charlotte Square walked out to their beautiful old 
place on Corstorphine Hill, spent the day there, and 
returned late when any one was with us, earlier when 
alone. Mr Jeffrey was enchanted with Jane, he had 
never seen any girl like her ; he liked me too, but he 
did not find me out till long after. He left me now 
more to Mrs Jeffrey and their little Charlotte, a pretty 
child in those days. 

We had been at Craigcrook on a visit of some days, 
and William had come out to walk home with us to 
Picardy Place, looking strangely sad ; on the way he 
told us there was very little hope of the life of Dr 
Gordon. What a shock it was ! Our intimacy had 
continued unbroken from the hour of our first acquaint- 
ance, William and I more particularly having been 
very much with him. He had got on in his profession 
as he deserved to do, and had lately got a Chair in 



the University and a full class, and they had left the 
old flat in Buccleuch Place in the Old Town off by the 
Meadows, and lived in a nice house in Castle Street. 
All was prospering with them, but he died. It was 
some kind of fever he had neglected the first symptoms 
of, and I believe he had injured himself by too exclusive 
a meat diet. He was the first physician who had ever 
tried checking a certain sort of consumptive tendency 
by high feeding ; he had succeeded so well with patients 
requiring this extra stimulus that he tried the plan on 
himself. Deeply we lamented him; William felt the 
loss most sincerely, nor did any other friend, I think, 
ever replace him. Mrs Gordon was left with three 
children, and only tolerably well off. She was unable 
to remain in Castle Street. She therefore removed 
soon to some place in Ayrshire, where there was good 
and cheap education to be had for her boys. Gogar 
or some such name her little boy, died ; so, I think, 
did her pretty Jane. 

We went late to the Highlands and stayed very 
quietly there. Kinrara was deserted this season, 
Belleville less gay than usual, and we did not go 
to the Meeting. My mother was not in spirits, my 
father was far away ; he went to Ireland to defend 
some rebels, trials that made a great stir at the time, 
being made quite a political battlefield. The junior 
counsel was Erskine Sandford, the Bishop's son, who 
went with us by the name of Portia, as it was his gown 
Mrs Henry Siddons borrowed when she acted that 
character ; it fitted her well, for he was only about her 
size, and she did not look unlike him, as he was hand- 
some, though so small. They were some weeks absent. 
While in the north of Ireland my father took up his 
quarters in the house of an old acquaintance, the 
Marquis of Donegal, whose brother, Lord Spencer 
Chichester, my mother was once expected to marry. 
The Marquis was in some perplexity about his own 
marriage; he was ultimately obliged to go to the 
serious expense of having an Act of Parliament passed 
to legalise it, the Marchioness having been under age 


at the time it was celebrated. She was a natural child, 
so without a parent, consequently the Chancellor was her 
guardian. She had been brought up, indeed adopted, by 
a worthy couple somewhere in Wales ; they supposed 
their consent sufficient, but it was not. 

After a very short stay in the Highlands we all came 
up to Picardy Place the end of October 1817, to meet 
my father on his return from Ireland. We soon 
settled ourselves in our spacious house, making our- 
selves more really at home than we had hitherto felt 
ourselves to be in town, having the certainty of no 
removal for three years. Still we younger ones were 
not soon reconciled to the situation, all our habits being 
disturbed by the separation from the West End ! 
Three winters we spent here, none of them worthy of 
particular note, neither indeed can I at this distance 
of time separate the occurrences of each from the 
others. The usual routine seemed to be followed in 
all. My father and his new, very queer clerk, Mr Caw, 
worked away in their law chambers till my father went 
up to London late in spring. The second winter he 
lost his seat for Grimsby, a richer competitor carried 
all votes, and for a few months he was out of Parlia- 
ment. How much better it would have been for him 
had he remained out, stuck to the Bar, at which he 
really might have done well had he not left ever so 
many cases in the lurch when attending the House, at 
which he made no figure. He spoke seldom, said little 
when he did speak, and never in any way made himself 
of consequence. Only once, when all his party censured 
the Speaker, he made a little reputation by the polite 
severity of his few words, called by Sir Alexander 
Boswell his " bit of brimstone and butter," a witticism 
that ran through all coteries, almost turning the laugh 
against the really clever speech. He dined out every- 
where with my mother while he was in Edinburgh, but 
hardly ever went out in an evening. He seemed, from 
his letters to my mother, to go a good deal into society 
while he was in London, dining at Holland House, 
Lord Lansdowne's, Lord Grey's, all the Whigs in fact, 



for he got into Parliament again. The Duke of 
Bedford gave him Tavistock till one of his own sons 
should be ready for it. 

Five or six dinners, two small evening parties, and 
one large one, a regular rout, paid my mother's debts 
in the visiting line each winter. She understood the 
management of company so well, every assembly of 
whatever kind always went off admirably at her house. 
We dined out a great deal, Jane and I taking the 
dinners in turns. We both went out in the evenings 
except when I could manage an escape, which was 
easier than formerly, my mother having given me up 
as a matrimonial speculation, and Jane really delighting 
in society. We got into a rather graver set than 
we had belonged to while in the sunshine of George 
Street and Charlotte Square, not quite giving up our 
gayer companions, but the distance from them was so 
great our easy sociable intercourse was much broken. 
In our own short street we knew only John Clerk, not 
then a judge, and his truly agreeable sister Miss Bessy. 
William, Jane and I half lived in their house. They 
never gave a dinner without one of us being wanted to 
fill the place of an apology, and none of us ever shirked 
the summons, feeling so at home, and meeting always 
such pleasant people ; all the law set of course, judges, 
barristers, and writers ; some of the literary, some of 
the scientific, and a great many county families. The 
drawing-rooms four of them were just a picture 
gallery, hung with paintings by the " ancient masters," 
some of them genuine ! There were besides portfolios 
of prints, clever caricatures, and original sketches, these 
last undoubted and very valuable. John Clerk was 
a collector; a thousand curiosities were spread about. 
He made more of his profession than any man at the 
Bar, and with his ready money commanded the market 
to a certain extent. The latest purchase was the 
favourite always, indeed the only one worth possessing, 
so that it almost seemed as if the enjoyment was in 
the acquisition, not in the intrinsic merit of the object. 
A hideous daub called a Rubens, a crowd of fat children 

1817-18] JOHN CLERK OF ELDIN 323 

miscalled angels, with as much to spare of " de quoi " 
as would have supplied the deficiencies of the whole 
cherubim, was the wonder of the world for ever so long ; 
my wonder too, for if it was a Rubens it must have 
been a mere sketch and never finished. I think I have 
heard that at the sale of this museum on Lord Eldin's 
death, a great many of his best-loved pictures were 
acknowledged to be trash. 

I did not like him ; the immorality of his private 
life was very discreditable ; he was cynical too, severe, 
very, when offended, though of a kindly nature in the 
main. His talents there was no dispute about, though 
his reputation certainly was enhanced by his eccen- 
tricities and by his personal appearance, which was 
truly hideous. He was very lame, one leg being much 
shorter than the other, and his countenance, harsh and 
heavy when composed, became demoniac when illumined 
by the mocking smile that sometimes relaxed it. I 
always thought him the personification of the devil 
on two sticks, a living, actual Mephistopheles. He 
spoke but little to his guests, uttering some caustic 
remark, cruelly applicable, at rare intervals, treasured 
up by everybody around as another saying of the wise 
man's deserving of being written in gold, Eastern 
fashion. When he did rouse up beyond this, his 
exposition of any subject he warmed on was really 
luminous, masterly, carried one away. The young 
men were all frightened to death of him ; he did look 
as if he could bite, and as if the bite would be deadly. 
The young ladies played with the monster, for he was 
very gentle to us. 

In the Parliament House, as the Courts of Justice 
are called in Scotland, he was a very tiger, seizing on 
his adversary with tooth and nail, and demolishing him 
without mercy, often without justice, for he was a true 
advocate, heart and soul, right or wrong, in his client's 
cause. Standing very upright on the long leg, half-a- 
dozen pair of spectacles shoved up over his forehead, 
his wickedest countenance on, beaming with energy, he 
poured forth in his broad Scotch a torrent of flaming 


rhetoric too bewildering to be often successfully opposed. 
There was a story went of his once having mistaken a 
case, and so in his most vehement manner pleading on 
the wrong side, the attorneys (called writers with us) in 
vain whispering and touching and pulling, trying in 
their agony every possible means of recalling his 
attention. At last he was made to comprehend the 
mischief he was doing, so he paused for breath, re- 
adjusted his notes, probably never before looked at, held 
out his hand for the spectacles his old fat clerk Mr 
George had always a packet of ready, put them on, 
shoved them up over all the series sent up before, and 
then turning to the Judge resumed his address thus, 
" Having now, my lord, to the best of my ability stated 
my opponent's case as strongly as it is possible for even 
my learned brother " bowing to the opposite counsel 
with a peculiar swing of the short leg " to argue it, I 
shall proceed point by point to refute every plea 
advanced, etc., etc. " ; and so he did, amid a convulsion 
of laughter. As a consulting lawyer he was calm and 
clear, a favourite arbitrator, making indeed most of his 
fees by chamber practice. 

The sort of tart things he said at dinner were like 
this. Some one having died, a man of birth and fortune 
in the west country, rather celebrated during his life for 
drawing pretty freely with the long-bow in conversation, 
it was remarked that the heir had buried him with much 
pomp, and had ordered for his remains a handsome 
monument : " wi' an epitaph," said John Clerk in his 
broadest Border dialect ; " he must hae an epitaph, an 
appropriate epitaph, an' we'll change the exordium out 
o' respect. Instead o' the usual Here lies, we'll begin 
his epitaph wi' Here continues to lie? I wish I could 
remember more of them ; they were scattered broad- 
cast, and too many of them fell by the wayside. The 
sister who lived with him and kept his house must 
in her youth have been a beauty. Indeed she 
acknowledged this, and told how to enhance it, she 
had when about fifteen possessed herself of her 
mother's patch-box, and not content with one or 

1817-18] SIR ADAM FERGUSON 325 

two black spots to brighten her complexion, had 
stuck on a whole shower, and thus speckled, had 
set out on a very satisfactory walk, every one she met 
staring at her admiringly. A deal of such quiet fun 
enlivened her conversation, adding considerably to the 
attraction of a well-bred manner. She painted a little, 
modelling in clay beautifully, sometimes finishing her 
small groups in ivory. She was well read in French 
and English classics, had seen much, suffered some, and 
reflected a great deal. She was a most charming 
companion, saying often in a few words what one could 
think over at good length. She was very proud the 
Clerks of Eldin had every right so to be and the 
patronising pity with which she folded up her ancient 
skirts from contact with the snobs, as we call them now, 
whom she met and visited and was studiously polite to, 
was often my amusement to watch. She never dis- 
paraged them by a syllable individually, but she would 
describe a rather fast family as " the sort of people you 
never see in mourning," or " so busy trying to push 
themselves into a place and not succeeding." 

Sir Adam Ferguson was the son of the " Roman 
Antiquities " ; another idler. He was fond in the 
summer of walking excursions in two or three localities 
where he had friends, in the Perthshire Highlands, 
along the coasts of Fife and Forfar, and in the Border 
country, the heights along the Tweed, etc. Mark the 
points well. His acquaintance were of all ranks. He 
had eyes, ears, observation of all kinds, a wonderful 
memory, extraordinary powers of imitation, a pleasure 
in detailing acting, in fact all that occurred to him. 
He was the bosom friend of Walter Scott ; he and 
William Clerk lived half their time with the great 
novelist, and it was ungenerous in him and Mr Lock- 
hart to have made so little mention of them in the 
biography, for most undoubtedly Sir Adam Ferguson 
was the " nature " from which many of those life-like 
pictures were drawn. We, who knew all, recognised our 
old familiar stories nay, characters and guessed the 
rich source that had been so constantly drawn on. 

326 SIR WALTER SCOTT [1817-18 

Waverley came out, I think it must have been in 
the autumn of 1814, just before we went first to Edin- 
burgh. It was brought to us at the Doune, I know, 
by "little Jemmy Simpson," as that good man, since 
so famous, was then most irreverently called. Some 
liked the book, he said ; he thought himself it was in 
parts quite beyond the common run, and the deter- 
mined mystery as to the author added much to its 
vogue. I did not like it. The opening English 
scenes were to me intolerably dull and lengthy, and 
so prosy, and the persons introduced so uninteresting, 
the hero contemptible, the two heroines unnatural 
and disagreeable, and the whole idea given of the 
Highlands so utterly at variance with truth. I read it 
again long afterwards, and remained of the same 
mind. Then burst out Guy Mannering, carrying all the 
world before it, in spite of the very pitiful setting the 
gipsies, the smugglers, and Dandie Dinmont are 
surrounded by. Here again is the copyist, the scenery 
Dumfries and Galloway, the dialect Forfar. People 
now began to feel these works could come but from one 
author, particularly as a few acres began to be added to 
the recent purchase of the old tower of Abbotsford, and 
Mrs Scott set up a carriage, a barouche landau built in 
London, which from the time she got it she was seldom 
out of. 

I was never in company with Walter Scott ; he went 
out very little, and when he did go he was not agreeable, 
generally sitting very silent, looking dull and listless, 
unless an occasional flash lighted up his countenance. 
In his own house, he was another character, especially 
if he liked his guests. It was odd, but Sir Walter never 
had the reputation in Edinburgh he had elsewhere was 
not the lion, I mean. His wonderful works were looked 
for, read with avidity, praised on all hands, yet the 
author made far less noise at home than he did abroad. 
The fat, vulgar Mrs Jobson, whose low husband had 
made his large fortune at Dundee by pickling herrings, 
on being congratulated at the approaching marriage of 
her daughter to Sir Walter Scott's son, said the young 

1817-18] OTHER FRIEN 7 DS 327 

people were attached, otherwise her Jane might have 
looked higher ; " it was only a baronetcy, and quite a 
late creation." 

Another family in the Clerks' set and ours were the 
Dalzels ; they lived in a small house just behind Picardy 
Place, in Albany or Forth Street. They were a 
Professor's widow, her sister, and her sons and 
daughters, reduced in the short space of a few years to 
the one son and one daughter who still survive. Mary 
Dalzel played well on the pianoforte; there was no 
other talent among them. The Professor had been a 
learned but a singularly simple man. He had been 
tutor to either Lord Lauderdale or his eldest son, and they 
had a story of him which Lady Mary told us, that at 
dinner at Dunbar a large party a guest alluding to 
the profligacy of some prominent political character, Mr 
Dalzel broke in with, (< There has not been such a 
rogue unhanged since the days of the wicked Duke of 

In York Place we had only the old Miss Pringles, 
chiefly remarkable for never in the morning going out 
together always different ways, that when they met at 
dinner there might be more to say; and Miss Kate 
Sinclair ; and two families which, all unguessed by us, 
were destined to have such close connection with us 
hereafter, Mrs Henry Siddons and the Gibson Craigs. 
Mrs Siddons was now a widow, living with her two very 
nice daughters and her two charming little boys, quietly 
as became her circumstances. She acted regularly, as 
main prop of the theatre on which the principal part of 
her income depended. She went a little into society. 
She had pleasure in seeing her friends in a morning in 
her own house, and the friends were always delighted to 
go to see her, she was so very agreeable. The girls 
were great friends of my sister Mary's ; the little boys 
were my mother's passion, they were with us for ever, 
quite little pets. The Gibsons, who were not Craigs 
then, we got more intimate with after they moved to 
a fine large house Mr Gibson was building in Picardy 
Place when we went there. There were two sons, and 

328 WILLIE GUMMING [1817-18 

seven daughters of every age, all of them younger than 
the brothers. 

Jane and I added to our private list of so-called 
friends Mr Kennedy of Dunare, whose sister wrote 
Father Clement, whose mother, beautiful at eighty, was 
sister to the mother of Lord Brougham, who himself 
married Sir Samuel Romilly's daughter and held for 
many years a high situation here in Ireland ; Archy 
Alison, now Sir Archibald, heavy, awkward, plain, and 
yet foredoomed to greatness by the united testimony of 
every one sufficiently acquainted with him ; his father, 
one of the Episcopal chaplains and author of a work on 
Taste, had married Mrs Montague's Miss Gregory, so 
there was celebrity on all sides. 

It was a great addition to the quiet home society we 
were beginning to prefer to the regular gaiety, the 
having Mrs Gumming settled near us. Her two elder 
sons had already gone out to India, Alexander in the 
Civil Service, Robert in the Artillery, both to Bengal. 
The three younger it was necessary to educate better, 
as it was gradually becoming more difficult to get 
passed through the examinations, and all were destined 
for the East. George and Willie, intended for army 
surgeons, were to study medicine, and were also to have 
their manners formed by appearing occasionally in 
society. Willie made his entrance into fashionable 
life at a large evening party of my mother's. He was 
a handsome lad, very desirous of being thought a beau, 
so he dressed himself in his best carefully, and noticing 
that all the fine young men were scented, he provided 
himself with a large white cotton pocket-handkerchief 
of his mother's which he steeped in peppermint water, 
a large bottle of this useful corrective always standing 
on the chimney-piece in her room. Thus perfumed, 
and hair and whiskers oiled and curled, Willie, in a 
flutter of shyness and happiness, entered our brilliant 
drawing-room, when he was pounced on by Miss 
Shearer, the very plain sister of Mrs James Grant, an 
oldish woman of no sort of fashion and cruelly marked 
with the smallpox. " We'll keep together, Willie," said 


Miss Shearer, at every attempt of poor Willie's to shake 
himself clear of such an encumbrance in the crowd. 
How Dr Gumming laughed at these recollections when 
he and I met again after a lifetime's separation ! Up 
and down this ill-assorted pair paraded, Miss Shearer 
determined to show off her beau. " There's an extra- 
ordinary smell of peppermint here," said Lord Erskine 
to Mrs Henry Siddons, as the couple turned and 
twirled round to pass them, Willie flourishing the large 
pocket-handkerchief in most approved style. It was 
really overpowering, nor could we contrive to get rid 
of it, nor to detect the offending distributor of such 
pharmaceutical perfume, till next day, talking over the 
party with the Lady Logic, she enlightened us, more 
amused herself by the incident than almost any of the 
rest of us. 

She was right to keep the bottle of peppermint 
where it could easily be found, as the sort of house- 
keeping she practised must have made a frequent appeal 
to it necessary. She bought every Saturday a leg of 
mutton and a round of beef; when the, one was finished, 
the other was begun ; the leg was roasted, the round was 
boiled, and after the first day they were eaten cold, and 
served herself, her daughter, her two sons, and her two 
maid-servants the week ; there were potatoes, and in 
summer cabbage, and peas that rattled, in winter 
oranges, and by the help of the peppermint the family 
throve. We never heard of illness among them ; the 
minds expanded too, after their own queer fashion, even 
George, the most eccentric of human beings, doing 
credit to the rearing. He was so very singular in his 
ways, his mother was really uncertain about his getting 
through the College of Surgeons. She made cautious 
inquiries now and then as to his studies, attention to 
lectures, notes of them, visits to the hospital, preparation 
for his thesis and so on, and getting unsatisfactory 
replies, grew very fidgety. One day one of the medical 
examiners stopped her in the street to congratulate her 
on the admirable appearance made by her son George 
when he was passed at Surgeons' Hall ; his answers had 


been remarkable, and his thesis, dedicated to my father, 
had been No. 2 or 3 out of fifty. She was really 
amazed. "George," said she, when they met, "when 
did you get your degree? When did you pass your 
trials ? " " Eh ! " said George, looking up with his most 
vacant expression. " Oh, just when I was ready for 
them." " You never told me a word about it." " No ? 
Humph ! you'd have heard fast enough if I'd failed." 
That was all she could get out of him ; but he told us, 
that seeing the door of the Surgeons' Hall open and 
finding it was an examining day, it struck him that he 
would go in and get the job over; it was very easy 
to pass, he added. He has since at Madras risen 
high in his profession, been twice publicly thanked 
for his care of the troops, made money, married a 
wife; yet when he was at home on furlough he acted 
more like Dominie Sampson than any other character 
ever heard of. 

We had an odd family party sometimes a Carr, a 
Goodchild, a Gillio, and Grace Baillie who thrice a week 
at least walked in at dinner-time. My brothers' young 
men's friends continued popping in morning and eve- 
ning, when it suited them. Mary, now grown into a 
very handsome girl, did her part well in all home 
company. Johnnie also was made a little man of; he 
had a tutor for Latin, attended the French and draw- 
ing classes, read English History with Jane. We 
had given up all masters except the Italian and the 
harp, which last taught us in classes, and thereby hangs 
a tale. 

Monsieur Elouis, the harp master, charged so much 
for his private lessons, that my mother suggested to 
him to follow the Edinburgh fashion of classes at so 
much a quarter, three lessons a week. He made quite 
a fortune. There were eight pupils in a class, the lesson 
lasting two hours. We three, the two Hunters, Grace 
Stein (afterwards Lady Don), Amelia Gillio and 
Catherine Inglis were his best scholars. We played 
concerted pieces doubling the parts, choruses arranged 
by him, and sometimes duets or solos, practising in 

1818] AN INTRUDER 331 

other rooms. The fame of our execution spread over 
the town, and many persons entreated permission to 
mount up the long common stair to the poor French- 
man's garret to listen to such a number of harps played 
by such handsome girls. One or two of the mammas 
would have had no objection, but my mother and Lady 
Hunter would not hear of their daughters being part of 
an exhibition. We went there to learn, not to show off. 
Miss Elphick, too, had her own ideas upon the subject. 
She always went with us, and was extremely annoyed 
by the group of young men so frequently happening to 
pass down the street just at the time our class dispersed, 
some of them our dancing partners, so that there were 
bows and speeches and attendance home, much to her 
disgust. She waited once or twice till the second class 
assembled, but the beaux waited too. So then she 
carried us all off a quarter of an hour too soon, leaving 
our five companions to their fate ; and this not 
answering long, she set to scold M. Elouis, and called 
the Edinburgh gentlemen all sorts of names. In the 
midst of her season of wrath the door of our music room 
opened one day, and a large fine-looking military man, 
braided and belted and moustached, entered and was 
invited to be seated. Every harp was silent. 
" Mesdemoiselles," said M. Elouis with his most polished 
air of command, "recommence if you please; this 
gentleman is my most particular friend, a musical 
amateur, etc." Miss Elphick was all in a flame ; up she 
rose, up she made us rise, gather our music together 
and driving us and Amelia Gillio before her, we were 
shawled and bonneted in less time than I am writing 
of it, and on our way downstairs before poor Monsieur 
had finished his apologies to the officer and the other 
young ladies. Never was little woman in such a 
fury. We never returned to the harp classes, 
neither did the Hunters, and very soon they were 
given up. It was certainly an unwarrantable liberty, 
an impertinence, and the man must either have been 
totally unaware of the sort of pupils he was to find, 
or else an ill-bred ignorant person. Poor Elouis never 

332 MUSIC AT HOME [1818 

recovered the mistake ; he had to leave for want of 

Mr Loder brought an opera company with him, and 
gave, not whole operas he had not strength enough 
for that but very well got-up scenes from several most 
in favour. It was a most agreeable variety in a place 
where public amusements were but scantily supplied to 
the inhabitants. We had De Begnis and his wife, and 
scenes from Figaro, Don Giovanni, etc. ; the rest of 
the artists were very fair, but I forget their names. 
Going into a music shop we saw on the counter two 
numbers of a new work the opera of Don Juan 
arranged for two performers on the pianoforte ; the 
first attempt in a kind that had such success, and that 
brought good music within the power of the family 
circle. We secured our prize, Jane and I, hurried 
home, tried the first scena, were delighted, gave a 
week to private, very diligent study, and when we had 
it all by heart, the first afternoon my father came up 
to spend the gloaming napping in an easy-chair, we 
arrested his sleepy fit by " Notte e giorno," to his 
amazement. He liked our opera better, I think, than 
" Sul margine d'un rio," or " Ninetta cara," for we had 
so lately heard all the airs we played that we were 
quite up to the proper style, and had ourselves all the 
desire in the world to give the music we loved the 
expression intended by our then favourite composer, 

Edinburgh did not afford much public amusement. 
Except these operas which were a chance, a stray 
concert now and then catches and glees being the 
most popular and the six Assemblies, there were 
none other. The Assemblies were very ill attended, 
the small room never half full, the large, which held 
with ease twelve hundred people, was never entered 
except upon occasion of the Caledonian Hunt Ball, 
when the members presented the tickets, and their 
friends graciously accepted the free entertainment. 
The very crowded dances at home, inconvenient, 
troublesome and expensive as they were, seemed to 


be more popular than those easy balls, where for five 
shillings we had space, spring, a full orchestra, and 
plenty of light refreshments. I heard afterwards that 
as private houses became more fully and handsomely 
furnished, the fashion of attending the Assemblies 


THE first summer we were in Picardy Place, 1818, we 
girls remained there protected by Miss Elphick during 
the whole of it. When the fine weather came on in 
spring we had resumed our excursions to Craigcrook, 
and it was then we got so intimate with Basil Hall. 
We could not have been acquainted with him while 
we lived in George Street, because he only returned 
from his Loo Choo cruise late in the autumn of 1817. 
During the following winter we saw a good deal of him 
both before he went to London, and after they had 
tried to spoil him there, for he was made such a wonder 
of there, it was a miracle his head kept steady ; but it 
was at Craigcrook that we became such friends. Cruel 
Lord Jeffrey limited his two young favourites to friend- 
ship; he forbid any warmer feelings, closeting Jane 
in his pretty cabinet, and under the shades of the wood 
on Corstorphine Hill, to explain all the family par- 
ticulars. And then Basil went off to sea. 

The Jeffreys generally went out on Friday evenings, 
or, at any rate, on Saturdays, to a late dinner at 
Craigcrook, and came back to town on Monday 
morning, till the I2th of July released him from law 
labours. Jane and I frequently went with them, some- 
times for only one day, returning in the evening. We 
never met any lady there but Mrs George Russell 
occasionally; a clever woman, not to my mind agree- 
able. The men were John Murray, now and then his 
elder brother, Tommy Thomson, Robert Graeme, Mr 


1818] AT CRAIGCROOK 335 

Fullerton till he married, William Clerk very seldom, 
Mr Cockburn always, John Jeffrey, the Moreheads now 
and then, chance celebrities, and a London friend at 
intervals. It was not a big- wig set at all. My father, 
Lord Gillies, and such-like dignitaries would have been 
quite out of place in this rather riotous crew ; indeed, 
the prevailing free-and-easy tone did not altogether 
suit me. Individually, almost all of our party were 
agreeable, cleverly amusing. Collectively, there was 
far too much boisterous mirth for my taste. I preferred 
being with Mrs Jeffrey, that naturally charming woman, 
not then by any means sufficiently appreciated by 
those so much her inferiors. She and I spent our time 
gardening she was a perfect florist playing with 
little Charlotte, to whom all my old nursery tales and 
songs were new, preparing for the company, and 
chattering to each other. My gentlemen friends were 
William Murray of Henderland, and Robert Graeme 
of Lynedoch; they used to find Mrs Jeffrey and me 
out when we were weeding our borders, and often carry 
us off up the hill, Jane remaining queen of the bowling- 
green. How much she was admired by all those 
clever heads ! 

The dinners were delightful, so little form, so much 
fun, real wit sometimes, and always cheerfulness; the 
windows open to the garden, the sight and the scent 
of the flowers heightening the flavour of repasts 
unequalled for excellence; wines, all our set were 
famous for having of the best and in startling variety 
it was a mania; their cellars and their books divided 
the attention of the husband ; the wife, alas ! was more 
easily satisfied with the cookery. Except in a real 
old-fashioned Scotch house, where no dish was attempted 
that was not national, the various abominations served 
up as corner dishes under French names were merely 
libels upon housekeeping. Mrs Jeffrey presented nothing 
upon her table but what her cook could dress ; her 
home-fed fowl and home-made bread, and fine cream 
and sweet butter, and juicy vegetables, all so good, 
served so well, the hot things hot, the fruits cream, and 


butter so cold, gave such a feeling of comfort every one 
got good-humoured, even cranky William Clerk. They 
were bright days, those happy summer days at 

Another country house we were very much in was 
one the Gibsons had a lease of, Woodside. It was six 
miles from town, a good ride. We went out early, 
stayed all day, and came back in the cool of the 
summer evening. They were kind people, the father 
and mother very little in our way, the sons not much, 
the seven daughters of all ages our great friends. Mrs 
Kaye and Jane drew most together, Cecilia and I ; the 
little ones were pets, and very pretty ones. 

In August my father and mother and William went 
to the Highlands. Johnnie accompanied M. L'Espinasse 
to France. The little monkey had a turn for languages, 
was making good progress in French, so as a reward 
this pleasant trip was arranged for him. We three 
young ladies were left to amuse ourselves and Miss 
Elphick. We were so quiet, so orderly, so very correct 
in our whole conduct during the absence of the heads 
of the family, that on their return my father was 
addressed in the Parliament House by our opposite 
neighbour, a writer who lived on a flat, a second storey, 
high enough for good observation, and assured by him 
of the perfect propriety of our behaviour. 

In the early part of the Edinburgh summers a good 
many very pleasant, quiet parties went on among such 
of us as had to remain in town till the Courts rose in 
July. I remember several agreeable dinners at this 
season at the Arbuthnots, foreigners generally bringing 
their introductions about this time of year. At the 
Brewsters they had foreigners sent to them too, and 
they entertained them now, not in the flat where we 
first found them, but in their own house in Athole 
Crescent newly built out of the profits of the Kaleido- 
scope, a toy that was ridiculously the rage from its 
humble beginning in the tin tube with a perforated card 
in the end, to the fine brass instrument set on a stand, 
that was quite an ornament to the drawing-room. Had 


Sir David managed matters well, this would have 
turned out quite a fortune to him ; he missed the 
moment and only made a few thousand pounds ; still 
they gave him ease, and that was a blessing. The little 
dinners at his house were always pleasant. She was 
charming, and they selected their guests so well and 
were so particularly agreeable themselves, I don't 
remember anywhere passing more thoroughly enjoyable 
evenings than at their house. He was then, and is 
still, not only among the first of scientific men, but in 
manners and conversation utterly delightful ; no such 
favourite anywhere as Sir David Brewster, except at 
home or with any one engaged with him in business ; 
nobody ever had dealings with him and escaped a 
quarrel. Whether he were ill, the brain over-worked 
and the body thus over-weighted, or whether his wife 
did not understand him, or did not know and exert 
herself, there is no saying. 

I think it was about the May or June of this year 
that old Mrs Siddons returned to the stage for twelve 
nights to act for the benefit of her grandchildren. 
Henry Siddons was dead, leaving his affairs in much 
perplexity. He had purchased the theatre and never 
made it a paying concern, although his wife acted 
perseveringly, and all the Kemble family came regularly 
and drew good houses. His ordinary company was not 
good ; he was a stick himself, and he would keep the 
best parts for himself, and in every way managed badly. 
She did better after his death ; her clever brother 
William Murray conducting affairs much more wisely 
for her, and certainly for himself in the end, slow as she 
was in perceiving this. Some pressing debts, however, 
required to be met, and Mrs Siddons came forward. 
We were all great play-goers, often attending our own 
poor third-rates, Mrs Harry redeeming all else in our 
eyes, and never missing the stars, John and Charles 
Kemble, Young, Listen, Mathews, Miss Stephens, etc. 
But to see the great queen again we had never dreamed 
of. She had taken leave of the stage before we left 
London. She was little changed, not at all in appear- 


338 LISTON [1819 

ance, neither had her voice suffered ; the limbs were 
just hardly stifFer, more slowly moved rather, therefore 
in the older characters she was the finest, most natural ; 
they suited her age. Queen Katherine she took leave 
in. To my dying hour I shall never forget the trial 
scene ; the silver tone of her severely cold " My Lord 
Cardinal," and then on the wrong one starting up, the 
scorn of her attitude, and the outraged dignity of the 
voice in which she uttered "To You I speak." We 
were breathless. Her sick-room was very fine too. 
Then her Lady Macbeth, Volumnia, Constance ah ! 
no such acting since, for she was nature, on stilts in her 
private life. " Bring me some beer, boy, and another 
plate," is a true anecdote, blank verse and a tragic tone 
being her daily wear. 

Once when Liston was down I longed to see him in 
Lubin Log ; for some reason I could not manage it, and 
Mrs Harry let me go to her private box. He had been 
Tony Lumpkin in the play, and we were talking him 
over, waiting for his appearance in the farce. " I have 
heard," said I, " of his giving a look with that queer face 
of his, not uttering a word, yet sending people into 
convulsions of laughter not to be checked whilst he 
remained in sight." " Hush," said Mrs Harry, " here he 
comes." Enter Lubin from the coach with all his 
parcels. Between his first two inquiries for his 
" numbrella" and his "'at" he threw up at our hidden 
box, at me, the look perfectly over-setting ; there never 
could be such another grotesque expression of fun since 
the days of fauns and satyrs, and when composure in a 
degree returned, a sly twinkle of one squinting eye, or 
the buck tooth interrupting a smile, or some indescrib- 
able secret sign of intelligence, would reach us and set 
us off again. We were ill with laughing. He played 
that whole farce to us, to Mrs Harry and me, and every 
one agreed he had surpassed himself. 

The early part of the next summer, 1819, passed 
much in the same way as the one before ; sociable small 
parties among our friends in town, and visits to those in 
the country ; messages to the Abbey of course, and we 


were always the messengers. My mother was very 
careful of the servants ; Johnnie declared that one 
extremely rainy day when it was proper the Newcastle 
Chronicle should be returned to Mrs General Maxwell, 
my mother called out to him, " Johnnie, my dear, I wish 
you would run to George Street with this ; it's such a 
dreadful day I don't like sending out poor Richard " a 
colossus of a footman, weighing heavier every day from 
having nothing to do. Poor Johnnie ! this very spring 
he maybe thought with regret of even Mrs Maxwell's 
newspaper, for my father took him up to town and sent 
him to Eton. They first paid a visit to the electors of 
Tavistock, and on their way spent a day with Dugald 
Stewart, who lived then near the Duke of Bedford's 
cottage at Endsleigh. The old philosopher predicted 
the boy's future eminence, although we at home had 
not seen through his reserve. He was idle, slow, quiet, 
passing as almost stupid beside his brilliant brother. 
" Take care of that boy, Grant," said Dugald Stewart at 
their parting ; " he will make a great name for himself, 
or I am much mistaken." And has he not ? Quiet he 
has remained, Indolent too, and eccentric, but in his own 
field of action who is his parallel ? My mother and I 
thought of no honourable future when our pet left us. 
We watched him from the window, stepping into the 
travelling chariot after my father in the new greatcoat 
that had been made for him, the little tearful face not 
daring to venture a last glance back to us. He was 
small of his age, and from being the youngest he was 
childish. We did not see him for sixteen months. He 
came back to us an Eton boy ; how much those three 
small words imply ! My poor mother, I can understand 
now the sob with which she threw herself back upon the 
sofa, exclaiming, " I have lost my Johnnie ! " His 
cousin John Frere went to Eton at the same time, and 
our John spent all short holidays at Hampstead, only 
coming home to the Highlands once a year in the 
summer. The two cousins remained attached friends 
ever, and though widely separated, never lost sight of 
one another till poor John Frere died. 


General N had returned home very soon after 

his marriage to our dear Annie. They had settled 
amidst his rich relations near Nottingham, who had all 
received her most kindly. We heard from her constantly 
and were always planning to meet, yet never managed 
it. My father had seen her with her two nice little 
boys, and found her perfectly happy; her general no 
genius, but an excellent man. 

I cannot recollect much else that is worthy of note 
before our little tour upon the Continent. We set out 
in August, and were two months and a half away. My 
father was not inclined for such a movement at all, it 
was probably very inconvenient to the treasury, but my 
mother had so set her heart upon it, he, as usual, good- 
naturedly gave way. Johnnie was to spend his holidays 
with the Freres. Miss Elphick went to the Kirkman 
Finlays; her parting was quite a dreadful scene, 
screams, convulsions, sobs, hysterics. The poor woman 
was attached to some of us, and had of late been much 
more agreeable to the rest ; but she was a plague in the 
house, did a deal of mischief, and was no guide, no help. 
She had been seven years with us, so there was a chain 
of habit to loosen at any rate. 


THE length of time that has passed since we made this 
pleasant little tour in the Netherlands has caused 
forgetfulness of a thousand details which always add so 
much to the interest of any account of the first impres- 
sions of a foreign country. In talking over our travels 
with our good friend Miss Bessy Clerk, we used to keep 
her laughing by the hour at several of our adventures. 
This winter in Edinburgh was our last, passed much as 
other winters ; the same law dinners before Christmas, 
the same balls after it. My mother was very kind to 
me and did not press me to go out. Jane, who 
delighted in company, and who was the most popular 
young lady in our society, was quite pleased to have 
most of the visiting. I was a good deal with Miss 
Clerk and the Jeffreys and the Brewsters, at whose 
house one day at a quiet dinner I met Sir John Hay 
and his daughter Elizabeth, looking so very pretty in 
the mourning she wore for her betrothed. He had died 
of quinsy while on circuit at Aberdeen the year before. 
She afterwards married Sir David Hunter Blair. 

There were serious riots in the West country this 
spring of 1820, the yeomanry called out, troops sent to 
Glasgow a serious affair while it lasted. Jane was out 
at dinner, my mother was reading to me, when with a 
grand fuss in came William Gibson to tell us the strife 
was over, and to show himself in all the bravery of his 
yeomanry uniform ; very handsome it was. He and I 



had fallen out before we went abroad, and we never 
rightly fell in again. He was a little spoiled, known to 
be the heir of his wealthy father and still wealthier 
cousin, Mr Craig of Riccarton ; the idea, therefore, of 
his studying for the Bar struck us all as absurd. Of 
course he did not spend much time on his law books, 
and his father determined to send him to travel. My 
father and mother were sorry to see him go ; he was a 
favourite, and has turned out so as fully to justify their 

There were many public rejoicings although private 
affairs had been gathering gloom. The old Queen 
Charlotte had died and George 1 1 1. ditto. The Princess 
Charlotte had married and had died with her baby, and 
this had set all her royal uncles upon marrying to 
provide heirs to the throne. One after the other 
German princesses came over, and in this year began 
the births, to the supposed delight of a grateful country 
We had long tiresome mournings and then the joy-bells 
the old tale. But there were other losses more felt. 
Madame de Stael died, to the regret of Europe. We 
had heard so much of her through the Mackintoshes 
that we almost fancied her an acquaintance. I think 
the Duke of York must have died too, and Mrs Canning 
but maybe this was later. I am confused about 
dates, having never made any memoranda to guide me. 
Altogether my recollections of these few last months in 
Edinburgh are rather confused and far from pleasant. 

One morning my mother sent Jane and Mary with 
a message to the poor Carrs in the Abbey ; William 
was out elsewhere ; most of the servants were despatched 
on errands ; and then, poor woman, she told me there 
was to be an execution in the house, and that I must 
help her to ticket a few books and drawings as belonging 
to the friends who had lent them to us. We had hardly 
finished when two startling rings announced the arrival 
of a string of rude-looking men, who proceeded at once 
to business, however, with perfect civility, although their 
visit could not have been satisfactory, inasmuch as 


nothing almost was personal property ; the furniture 
was all hired, there was no cellar, very little plate. The 
law library and the pianoforte were the most valuable 
items of the short catalogue. I attended them with the 
keys, and certainly they were very courteous, not going up 
to the bedrooms at all, nor scrutinising anywhere very 
closely. When they were gone we had a good fit of 
crying, my mother and I, and then she told me for 
the first time of our difficulties as far as she herself 
knew them, adding that her whole wish now was to retire 
to the Highlands ; for, disappointed as she had been in 
every way, she had no wish to remain before the public 
eye nor to continue an expensive way of living evidently 
beyond our circumstances. How severely I reflected on 
myself for having added to her griefs, for I had consider- 
ably distressed her by my heartless flirtations, entered 
on purposely to inflict disappointment. The guilt of 
such conduct now came upon me as a blow, meriting 
just as cruel a punishment as my awakening conscience 
was giving me ; for there was no help, no cure for the 
past, all remaining was a better line of conduct for the 
future, on which I fully determined, and, thank God, 
lived to carry out, and so in some small degree atone 
for that vile flippancy which had hurt my own character 
and my own reputation while it tortured my poor 
mother. I don't now take all the blame upon myself; 
I had never been rightly guided. The relations between 
mother and daughter were very different then from what 
they are now. Our mother was very reserved with us, 
not watchful of us, nor considerate, nor consistent. The 
governess was an affliction. Thought would have 
schooled me ; but I never thought till this sad day ; then 
it seemed as if a veil fell from between my giddy spirits 
and real life, and the lesson I read began my education. 
Mary had also grieved my poor mother a little by 
refusing uncle Edward's invitation to India ; Jane, by 
declining what were called good marriages ; William, by 
neglecting his law studies. A little more openness with 
kindness might have done good to all ; tart speeches 


and undue fault-finding will put nothing straight, ever. 
We had all suffered from the fretfulness without 
knowing what had caused the ill-humour. It was easy 
to bear and easy to soothe once it was understood. We 
were all the happier after we knew more of the truth of 
our position. 

It was easy to get leave to spend the summer in 
Rothiemurchus ; it was impossible to persuade my 
father that he had lost his chance of succeeding at the 
Scotch Bar. He took another house in Great King 
Street, removing all the furniture and his law books into 
it, as our lease of No. 8 Picardy Place was out. My 
mother, who had charge of the packing, put up and 
carried north every atom that was our own. She had 
made up her mind to return no more, though she said 
nothing after the new house was taken. Had she been 
as resolute earlier it would have been better ; perhaps 
she did not know the necessity of the case ; and then 
she and we looked on the forest as inexhaustible, a 
growth of wealth that would last for ever and retrieve 
any passing difficulties, with proper management. This 
was our sunny gleam. 

In July then, 1820, we returned to the Highlands, 
which for seven years remained the only home of the 
family. My mother resisted all arguments for a return to 
Edinburgh this first winter, and they were never again 
employed. She had begun to lose her brave heart, to 
find out how much more serious than she had ever 
dreamed of had become the difficulties in which my 
father was involved, though the full amount of his debts 
was concealed for some time longer from her and the 
world. Some sort of trust-deed was executed this 
summer, to which I know our cousin lame James Grant, 
Glenmoriston's uncle, was a party. William was to give 
up the Bar, and devote himself to the management of 
the property, take the forest affairs into his own hands, 
Duncan Macintosh being quite invalided, and turn 
farmer as well, having qualified himself by a residence 
of some months in East Lothian at a first-rate practical 
farmer's, for the care of the comparatively few acres 


[To face page 344. 


round the Doune. My father was to proceed as usual ; 
London and the House in spring, and such improvements 
as amused him when at home. 

My mother did not enjoy a country life ; she had 
therefore the more merit in suiting herself to it. She 
had no pleasure in gardening or in wandering through 
that beautiful scenery, neither had she any turn for 
schools, nor " cottage comforts," nor the general care of 
her husband's people, though in particular instances she 
was very kind ; nor was she an active housekeeper. 
She ordered very good dinners, but as general overseer 
of expenditure she failed. She liked seeing her hanks 
of yarn come in and her webs come home ; but whether 
she got back all she ought from what she sent, she 
never thought of. She had no extravagant habits, not 
one ; yet for want of supervision the waste in all depart- 
ments of the household was excessive. Indolently 
content with her book, her newspaper, or her work, late 
up and very late to bed, a walk to her poultry-yard, 
which was her only diversion, was almost a bore to her, 
and a drive with my father in her pretty pony carriage 
quite a sacrifice. Her health was beginning to give way 
and her spirits with it. 

William was quite pleased with the change in his 
destiny. He was very active in his habits, by no means 
studious, and he had never much fancied the law. Farm- 
ing he took to eagerly, and what a farmer he made. They 
were changed times to the Highland idlers : the whole 
yard astir at five o'clock in the morning, himself perhaps 
the first to pull the bell, a certain task allotted to every 
one, hours fixed for this work, days set apart for that, 
method pursued, order enforced. It was hard, uphill 
work, but even to tidiness and cleanliness it was 
accomplished in time. He overturned the old system a 
little too quickly, a woman would have gone about the 
requisite changes with more delicacy ; the result, 
however, justified the means. There was one stumbling- 
block in his way, a clever rogue of a grieve, a handsome 
well-mannered man, a great favourite, who blinded even 
William by his adroit flatteries. He came from Ayr- 


shire, highly recommended by I forget whom, and 
having married Donald Maclean the carpenter's pretty 
daughter, called Jane after my mother, he had a strong 
back of connections all disposed to be favourable to him. 
He was gardener as well as grieve, for George Ross was 
dead, and he was really skilful in both capacities. 

The forest affairs were at least equally improved by 
such active superintendence, although the alterations 
came more by degrees. I must try and remember all 
that was done there, and in due order if possible. First, 
the general felling of timber at whatever spot the men 
so employed found it most convenient to them to put an 
axe to a marked tree, was put a stop to. William made 
a plan of the forest, divided it into sections, and as far 
as was practicable allotted one portion to be cleared 
immediately, enclosed by a stout fencing, and then left 
to nature, not to be touched again for fifty or sixty 
years. The ground was so rich in seed that no other 
course was necessary. By the following spring a 
carpet of inch-high plants would be struggling to rise 
above the heather, in a season or two more a thicket of 
young firs would be .found there, thinning themselves as 
they grew, the larger destroying all the weaker. Had 
this plan been pursued from the beginning there would 
never have been an end to the wood of Rothiemurchus. 
The dragging of the felled timber was next systematised. 
The horses required were kept at the Doune, sent out 
regularly to their work during the time of year they 
were wanted, and when their business was done 
employed in carting deals to Forres, returning with 
meal sufficient for the consumption of the whole place, 
or to Inverness to bring back coals and other stores for 
the house. The little bodies and idle boys with ponies 
were got rid of. The mills also disappeared. One by 
one these picturesque objects fell into disuse. A large 
building was erected on the Druie near its junction with 
the Spey, where all the sawing was effected. A coarse 
upright saw for slabbing, that is, sawing off the outsides 
or backs of the logs, and several packs of saws which cut 
the whole log up at once into deals, were all arranged in 

1820] THE NEW SAW-MILL 347 

the larger division of the mill. A wide reservoir of 
water held all the wood floated or dragged to the 
inclined plane up which the logs were rolled as wanted. 
When cut up, the backs were thrown out through one 
window, the deals through another, into a yard at the 
back of the mill, where the wood was all sorted and 
stacked. Very few men and as many boys got easily 
through the work of the day. It was always a busy 
scene and a very exciting one, the great lion of the 
place, strangers delighting in a visit to it. The noise 
was frightful, but there was no confusion, no bustle, no 
hurry. Every one employed had his own particular 
task, and plenty of time and space to do it in. 

The smaller compartment of the great mill was 
fitted up with circular saws for the purpose of preparing 
the thinnings of the birch woods for herring-barrel 
staves. It was a mere toy beside its gigantic neigh- 
bour, but a very pretty and a very profitable one, above 
;iooo a year being cleared by this manufacture of what 
had hitherto been valueless except as fuel. This 
circular saw-mill had been the first erected. It was 
planned by my father and William the summer they 
went north with my mother and left us girls in 
Edinburgh. The large mill followed, and was but just 
finished as we arrived, so that it was not in the working 
order I have described till some months later. An 
oddity, Urquhart Gale, imported a few years before, had 
entire charge of it, and Sandy Macintosh gave all his 
attention to the woods. He lived with his father at the 
Dell, and Urquhart Gale lived on one of the islands in 
the Druie, where he had built himself a wooden house 
surrounded by a strip of garden bounded by the water. 
Having set the staple business of the place in more 
regular order than it had ever been conducted in before, 
William turned his attention to the farm, with less success, 
however, for a year or two. More work was done and all 
work was better done, but the management remained 
expensive till we got rid of the grieve. In time he was 
replaced by a head ploughman from the Lothians, when 
all the others having learnt their places required less 


supervision. William indeed was himself always at his 
post, this new profession of his being his passion. The 
order he got that farm into, the crops it yielded after- 
wards, the beauty of his fields, the improvement of the 
stock, were the wonder of the country. This first year 
I did not so much attend to his doings as I did the 
next, having little or nothing to do with his operations. 
Jane and I rode as usual. We all wandered about in 
the woods and spent long days in the garden, and then 
we had the usual autumn company to entertain at home 
and in the neighbourhood. 

Our first guest was John, our young brother John, 
whom we had not seen since he went first to Eton. 
My mother, whose anxiety to meet her pet was fully 
equal to my sisters' and mine, proposed our driving to 
Pitmain, thirteen miles off, where the coach then 
stopped to dine. The barouche and four was ordered 
accordingly and away we went. We had nearly 
reached Kingussie when we espied upon the road a tall 
figure walking with long strides, his hat on the back of 
his head, his hair blowing about in the wind, very short 
trousers, and arms beyond his coat-sleeves in fact an 
object : and this was John 1 grown five inches, or indeed 
I believe six for he had been sixteen months away. 
He had carried up very creditable breadth with all this 
height, looking strong enough, but so altered, so unlike our 
little plaything of a brother, we were rather discomfited. 
However, we found that the ways of old had lost no 
charms for the Eton boy ; he was more our companion 
than ever, promoting and enjoying fun in his quiet way, 
and so long as no sort of trouble fell to him, objecting 
to none of our many schemes of amusement. Old as 
we elder ones were, we used to join in cat concerts after 
breakfast ; my mother always breakfasted in her room, 
my father had a tray sent to him in the study, or if he 
came to us, he ate hurriedly and soon departed. We 
each pretended we were playing on some instrument, 
the sound of which we endeavoured to imitate with the 
voice, taking parts as in a real orchestra, generally 


contriving to make harmony, and going through all our 
favourite overtures as well as innumerable melodies. 
Then we would act scenes from different plays, 
substituting our own words when memory failed us, or 
sing bits of operas in the same improvisatore style. 
Then we would rush out of doors, be off to fish, or to 
visit our thousand friends, or to the forest or to the mill, 
or to take a row upon the loch, unmooring the boat our- 
selves, and Jane and I handling the oars just as well as 
our brothers. Sometimes we stopped short in the 
garden or went no further than the hill of the Doune, or 
maybe would lounge on to the farmyard if any work we 
liked was going on there. Jane had taken to sketching 
from nature and to gardening. I had my greenhouse 
plants indoors, and the linen-press, made over to my 
care by my mother, as were the wardrobes of my 
brothers. We were so happy, so busy, we felt it an 
interruption when there came visitors, Jane excepted; 
she was only in her element when in company. She 
very soon took the whole charge of receiving and enter- 
taining the guests. She shone in that capacity and 
certainly made the gay meetings of friends hence- 
forward very different from the formal parties of former 
times. Our guests this autumn of 1820 were Charles 
and Robert Grant (names ever dear to me), Sir David 
and Lady Brewster, and Mrs Marcet the clever 
authoress, brought to us by the Bellevilles. We gave 
her a luncheon in our cottage at Loch-an-Eilan, which 
much pleased her. Our cousin Edmund was with us 
this summer; he had helped us to fit up the cottage, 
whitewashing, staining, painting, etc. One of the 
woodmen's wives lived in it and kept it tidy. We had 
a pantry and a store-room, well furnished both of them, 
and many a party we gave there, sometimes a boating 
and fishing party with a luncheon, sometimes a tea with 
cakes of our own making, and a merry walk home by 
moonlight. Doctor Hooker also came to botanise and 
the sportsmen to shoot. Kinrara filled, and uncle 
Ralph and Eliza passed the whole summer with us. 
Mrs Ironside was at Oxford, watching with aunt Mary 

350 AUTUMN GUESTS [isao 

the last days of Dr Griffith. Uncle Ralph was the 
most delightful companion that ever dwelt in a country 
house. Never in the way, always up to everything, the 
promoter of all enjoyment, full of fun, full of anecdote, 
charming by the fire on a wet day, charming out of 
doors in the sunshine, enthusiastic about scenery, 
unrivalled in weaving garlands of natural flowers for the 
hair, altogether such a prose poet as one almost never 
meets with; hardly handsome, yet very fine-looking, 
tall and with the manners and the air of a prince of the 
blood. He had lived much in the best society and had 
adorned it. Eliza was clever, very obliging, and her 
playing on the pianoforte was delightful. She had an 
everlasting collection of old simple airs belonging to all 
countries, which she strung together with skill, and 
played with expression. We had great fun this 
autumn; pony races at Kingussie and a ball at the 
cattle tryst, picnics in the woods, quantities of fine 
people at Kinrara, Lord Tweeddale and his beautiful 
Marchioness (Lady Susan Montague), the Ladies 
Cornwallis, kind merry girls, one of them Lady Louisa 
nearly killing uncle Ralph by making him dance 
twice down the haymakers with her ; Mrs Rawdon and 
her clever daughter, Lady William Russell; Lord 
Lynedoch at eighty shooting with the young men ; 
Colonel Ponsonby, who had gambled away a fine 
fortune or two and Lady Harriet Bathurst's heart, and 
being supposed to be killed at Waterloo, had his body 
while in a swoon built up in a wall of corpses, as a 
breastwork for some regiment to shoot over. Mrs 
Rawdon, rather a handsome flirting widow, taking 
uncle Ralph for a widower, paid him tender attentions 
and invited Eliza to visit her in London. 

This was the summer of Queen Caroline's trial ; the 
newspapers were forbidden to all of us young people ; a 
useless prohibition, for while we sat working or drawing, 
my uncle and my mother favoured us with full 
comments on these disgusting proceedings. In 
September the poor creature died. None of the 
grandees in our neighbourhood would wear mourning 


for her. We had to put on black for our uncle Griffith, 
and the good-natured world said that my father, in his 
violent Whiggery, had dressed us in sables, when, in 
truth, he had always supported the king's right to 
exercise his own authority in his own family. Mrs 
Ralph remained at Oxford to assist aunt Mary in 
selecting furniture, packing up some, selling the rest, 
and giving up the lodgings to the new master, Dr 
Rowley, our old friend of the pear-tree days. The two 
ladies then set out for Tennochside, where aunt Mary 
was to pass her years of widowhood, uncle Ralph and 
Eliza hurrying back to meet them as soon as we had 
returned from the Northern Meeting in October. 

At the end of this year my sisters and I had to 
manage amongst us to replace wasteful servants and 
attend to my mother's simple wants. The housekeeper 
went, in bad health, to the Spa at StrathpefTer, where 
she died ; the fine cook married the butler, and took the 
Inn at Dalwhinnie, which they partly furnished out of 
our lumber room ! My mother placed me in authority, 
and by patience, regularity, tact and resolution, the 
necessary reforms were silently made without annoying 
any one. It was the beginning of troubles the full 
extent of which I had indeed little Idea of then, nor had 
I thought much of what I did know till one bright day, 
on one of our forest excursions, my rough pony was led 
through the moss of Achnahatanich by honest old John 
Bain. We were looking over a wide, bare plain, which 
the last time I had seen it had been all wood ; I believe 
I started ; the good old man shook his grey head, and 
then, with more respect than usual in his manner, he 
told all that was said, all that he feared, all that some 
one of us should know, and that he saw " it was fixed 
that Miss Lizzy should hear, for though she was light- 
some she would come to sense when it was wanted to 
keep her mamma easy, try to help her brothers, and not 
refuse a good match for herself." Poor, good, wise John 
Bain ! A match for me ! that was over, but the rest 
could be tried. " A stout heart to a stiff brae " gets up 
the hill. 

352 ILLNESS [1821-22 

I was ignorant of household matters; my kind 
friend the Lady Belleville was an admirable econo- 
mist, she taught me much. Dairy and farm-kitchen 
matters were picked up at the Dell and the Croft, 
and with books of reference, honest intentions, 
and untiring activity, less mistakes were made 
in this season of apprenticeship than could have 
been expected. And so passed the year of 1821. 
Few visitors that season, no Northern Meeting, 
a dinner or two at Kinrara, and a good many 
visits at Belleville. William busy with the forest 
and farm. 

1822 was more lively; William and I had got our 
departments into fair working order ; whether he had 
diminished expenses, I know not ; I had, beyond my 
slightest idea, and we were fully more comfortable than 
we had ever been under the reign of the housekeepers. 
Sir David and Lady Brewster were with us for a while, 
and Dr Hooker, and the Grants of course, with their 
quaint fun and their oddities and their extra piety, 
which, I think, was wearing away. In the early part of 
the year aunt Mary came to us from Tennochside, 
escorted by my father on his return from London. 
She found me very ill. I had gone at Christmas on a 
visit to our cousins the Roses of Holme, where I had 
not been since Charlotte's marriage to Sir John, then 
Colonel Burgoyne. There had been no company in the 
house for some time ; I was put into a damp bed, which 
gave me a cold, followed by such a cough that I had 
kept my room ever since ; the dull barrack-room, very 
low in the roof, just under the slates, cold in winter, a 
furnace in summer, only one window in it, and we three 
girls in it, my poor sisters disturbed all night by my 
incessant cough, Dr Smith, kind little man, took what 
care he could of me, and Jane, who succeeded to my 
" situation," was the best, the most untiring of nurses, 
but neither of them could manage my removal to a 
more fitting apartment. Aunt Mary effected it at once. 
We were all brought down to the white room and its 
dressing-room, the best in the house, so light, so very 


cheerful ; I had the large room. The dear Miss 
Gumming Gordons sent up from Forres House a cuddy, 
whose milk, brought up to me warm every morning, 
soon softeneu the cough. Nourishing soups restored 
strength. In June I was on my pony ; in August I was 
well. How much I owe to our dear, wise aunt Mary ! 
she never let us return to the barrack-room ; she 
prevailed on my father to have us settled in the old 
schoolroom and the room through it, which we 
inhabited ever after; had we been there before I 
should not have been so ill, for my mother lived on 
the same floor, and would have been able to look 
after us. She was very ill herself, in the doctor's 
hands, rose late, never got up the garret stairs, 
and was no great believer in the dangers of a mere 

Aunt Mary amused us by her admiration of hand- 
some young men. One of the Macphersons of Ralea, 
and the two Clarkes of Dalnavert, John and William, 
were very much with us ; they were dangerous inmates, 
but they did us no harm ; I do not know that they did 
themselves much good. It is curious how these High- 
land laddies, once introduced to the upper world, take 
their places in it as if born to fill them. No young men 
school or college bred could have more graceful manners 
than John Clarke ; he entered the army from his humble 
home at Dalnavert, just taught a little by the kindness 
of Belleville. He was a first-rate officer, became A.D.C., 
married a baronet's daughter, and suited well the high 
position he won. The brother William, a gentlemanly 
sailor, married a woman of family and fortune, and 
settled in Hampshire. The sisters, after the death of 
their parents, went to an aunt in South America, where 
most of them married well, the eldest to a nephew of 
the celebrated General Greene. All of them rose as no 
other race ever rises ; there is no vulgarity for them to 
lose. Then came John Dalzel, a good young man, said 
to be clever, known to be industrious, educated with all 
the care that clever parents, school, college, a good 
society in Lord Eldin's house, could command ; who, 



grave, dull, awkward, looked of inferior species to the 
"gentle Celts." 

This autumn King George the Fourth visited 
Scotland. The whole country went mad. Everybody 
strained every point to get to Edinburgh to receive 
him. Sir Walter Scott and the Town Council were 
overwhelming themselves with the preparations. My 
mother did not feel well enough for the bustle, neither 
was I at all fit for it, so we stayed at home with aunt 
Mary. My father, my sisters, and William, with lace, 
feathers, pearls, the old landau, the old horses, and the 
old liveries, all went to add to the show, which they 
said was delightful. The Countess of Lauderdale 
presented my two sisters and the two Miss Grants of 
Congalton, a group allowed to be the prettiest there. 
The Clan Grant had quite a triumph, no equipage was 
as handsome as that of Colonel Francis Grant, our 
acting chief, in their red and green and gold. There 
were processions, a review, a levee, a drawing-room, 
and a ball, at which last Jane was one of the ladies 
selected to dance in the reel before the King, with, 
I think, poor Captain Murray of Abercairney, a young 
naval officer, for her partner. A great mistake was 
made by the stage managers one that offended all the 
southron Scots; the King wore at the leve'e the 
Highland dress. I daresay he thought the country all 
Highland, expected no fertile plains, did not know the 
difference between the Saxon and the Celt. However, 
all else went off well, this little slur on the Saxon was 
overlooked, and it gave occasion for a laugh at one of 
Lady Saltoun's witty speeches. Some one objecting 
to this dress, particularly on so large a man, " Nay," 
said she, " we should take it very kind of him ; since 
his stay will be so short, the more we see of him the 
better." Sir William Curtis was kilted too, and 
standing near the King, many persons mistook them, 
amongst others John Hamilton Dundas, who kneeled 
to kiss the fat Alderman's hand, when, finding out his 
mistake, he called, "Wrong, by Jove!" and rising, 
moved on undaunted to the larger presence. One 


incident connected with this time made me very cross. 
Lord Conyngham, the Chamberlain, was looking every- 
where for pure Glenlivet whisky ; the King drank 
nothing else. It was not to be had out of the 
Highlands. My father sent word to me I was the 
cellarer to empty my pet bin, where was whisky long 
in wood, long in uncorked bottles, mild as milk, and 
the true contraband gotit in it. Much as I grudged 
this treasure it made our fortunes afterwards, showing 
on what trifles great events depend. The whisky, and 
fifty brace of ptarmigan all shot by one man, went up to 
Holyrood House, and were graciously received and 
made much of, and a reminder of this attention at 
a proper moment by the gentlemanly Chamberlain 
ensured to my father the Indian judgeship. 

While part of the family were thus loyally employed, 
passing a gay ten days in Edinburgh, my dear, kind 
aunt and I were strolling through the beautiful scenery 
of Rothiemurchus. She loved to revisit all the places 
she had so admired in her youth. When attended by 
the train of retainers which then accompanied her 
progress, she had learnt more of the ancient doings of 
our race than I had been able to pick up even from 
dear old Mr Cameron. Aunt Mary was all Highland, 
an enthusiast in her admiration of all that fed the 
romance of her nature, so different from the placid 
comfort of her early home. Our strolls were charming ; 
she on foot, I on my pony. We went long distances, 
for we often stopped to rest beside some sparkling 
burnie, and seated on the heather and beside the 
cranberries, we ate the luncheon we had brought with 
us in a basket that was hung on the crutch of my 
saddle. I was much more fitted to understand her 
fine mind at this time than I should have been the 
year before. My long illness, which had confined me 
for many months to my room, where much of the time 
was passed in solitude, had thrown me for amusement 
on the treasures of my father's library. First I took 
to light reading, but finding there allusions to subjects 
of which I was nearly ignorant, I chalked out for 

356 SERIOUS STUDY [1822 

myself a plan of really earnest study. The history of 
my own country, and all connected with it, in eras, 
consulting the references where we had them, studying 
the literature of each period, comparing the past with 
the present it was this course faithfully pursued till 
it interested me beyond idea, that made me acquainted 
with the worth of our small collection of books. There 
was no subject on which sufficient information could 
not be got. 

I divided my reading time into four short sittings, 
varying the subjects, by advice of good Dr Smith, to 
avoid fatigue, and as I slept little it was surprising how 
many volumes I got through. It was " the making of 
me," as the Irish say ; our real mission here on earth 
had never been hinted to me. I had no fixed aim in 
life, no idea of wasted time. To do good, and to avoid 
evil, we were certainly taught, and very happy we were 
while all was bright around us. When sorrow came 
I was not fit to bear it, and I had to bear it all alone ; 
the utmost reserve was inculcated upon us whenever 
a disagreeable effect would be produced by an exhibi- 
tion of our feelings. In this case, too, the subject had 
been prohibited, so the long illness was the consequence, 
but the after-results were good. 

It was new to me to think ; I often lay awake in the 
early morning looking from my bed through the large 
south window of that pretty " White room," thinking of 
the world beyond those fine old beech trees, taking 
into the picture the green gate, the undulating field, 
the bank of birch trees, and the Ord Bain, and on the 
other side the height of the Polchar, and the smoke 
from the gardener's cottage ; wondering, dreaming, and 
not omitting self-accusation, for discipline had been 
necessary to me, and I had not borne my cross meekly. 
My foolish, frivolous, careless career and its punishment 
came back upon me painfully, but no longer angrily ; I 
learned to excuse as well as to submit, and kissed the 
rod in a brave spirit which met its reward. 

My wise aunt found me a new and profitable 
employment. She set me to write essays, short tales, 


and at length a novel. I don't suppose they were 
intrinsically worth much, and I do not know what may 
have become of them, but the venture was invaluable. 
I tried higher flights afterwards with success when help 
was wanted. 

All this while, who was very near us, within a 
thought of coming on to find us out, had he more 
accurately known our whereabouts? he who hardly 
seven years afterwards became my husband. He was 
an officer of the Indian army at home on furlough, 
diverting his leisure by a tour through part of Scotland ; 
he was sleeping quietly at Dunkeld while I was waking 
during the long night at the Doune. Uncle Edward, 
his particular friend, had so often talked of us to him 
that he knew us almost individually, but for want of an 
introduction would not volunteer a better acquaintance. 
It was better for me as it was. I know, had he come 
to Rothiemurchus, Jane would have won his heart ; so 
handsome she was, so lively, so kind ; a sickly invalid 
would have had no chance. Major Smith and Miss 
Jane would have ridden enthusiastically through the 
woods together, and I should have been unnoticed. 
All happens well, could we but think so; and so my 
future husband returned alone to India, and I had to 
go there after him ! 


AT the close of this autumn my aunt was to leave us 
to spend the winter with her old friend Mrs Lawrence 
at Studley. I was to go with her, Dr Smith thinking 
it would not be safe for me to risk the cold frosts of 
the Highlands. Mrs Lawrence very kindly wished me 
to remain with her during my aunt's visit, but Annie 
N had arranged with my father that I was to be her 
guest during this winter ; it was a long-promised visit, 
so I could give only a month to Studley on my way to 
Sherwood Forest. 

Before we left the Doune there had been a family 
council on weighty affairs. Our cousin Kate Ironside, 
the eldest of the Houghton family, who had been sent 
for to Bombay in the year 1819, had married well; 
her husband, Colonel Barnewell, an excellent man, was 
the Resident at Kaira, much considered in the service ; 
he had permitted Kate to send for her two next sisters, 
Eliza and Mary, and uncle Edward wished my sister 
Mary to accompany them. She had been his pet in her 
babyhood. My father and mother were rather offended 
by the proposal, but left the decision to Mary herself; 
she declined of course for the present, leaving the 
matter open for future consideration, with the caution 
for which she was so remarkable. " There is no saying," 
she said, " but what Bombay might some day prove a 
godsend ; life is dull enough here." 

At this same time a writership offered by old Charles 
Grant to my brother John was refused, to my mother's 


grief, for she had set her heart upon it. She had a 
craze for India, and would have despatched every boy 
and girl over whom she had any influence to that land 
of the sun. My father and William, and our aunt 
Mary too, thought that John's great abilities would 
ensure him employment at home, so this matter was 

Towards the end of October my aunt and I set out 
upon our travels, escorted by my brother William. 
We went in the travelling chariot with our own horses, 
sleeping two nights upon the road, and we stayed a 
week in Edinburgh in our own house in King Street, 
which my father had lent to uncle Ralph. 

We proceeded by coach to Carlisle, the first time I 
had ever set foot in a public carriage, and very disagree- 
able I found it. The country we passed through was 
delightful to us who were learned in ballad lore ; 
Ettrick Shaws and Gala Water, the Braes of Yarrow 
and the Cowdenknowes, all spoke to us, though from a 
distance, as we passed on to merry Carlisle, which we 
reached too late and too sleepy to look at. Next day 
we passed on over the wolds to Greta Bridge and Kirby, 
and so on to Studley, where I remained till close on 
Christmas. William found the life too dull, so he set off 

to the N s, with whom he remained till it was time to 

return for me. 

At that season of the year old Mrs Lawrence lived 
nearly alone ; her open-house style ended with the 
autumn. We found only a few intimate friends with 

Mrs Lawrence was very kind to me. She sent a 
pianoforte to my room that I might practise in quiet ; 
she gave me a key to the bookcases in the library, and 
often chose me as her companion in her morning rides. 
We rode two donkeys, she on Johnny, I on Jack. She 
rode first in an old duffle cloak of a grey colour and a 
black gipsy hat, encouraging her somewhat slothful 
steed with a brisk "Johnny, get on" every now and 
then. Jack required no stimulus. Thus we wandered 
on for hours through the beautiful grounds of Studley 

360 FOUNTAIN DALE [1822-23 

Royal. It was one of the lions of Harrogate, and 
certainly its extensive old-fashioned gardens deserved a 
visit. There were lawns, thickets, laurel banks, lakes, 
grottoes, temples, statues, the beautiful old ruins of 
Fountains Abbey, kept most incorrectly clean and tidy 
as if washed and trimmed daily, and one old manor- 
house near it a gem now the residence of the game- 
keeper. The fruit gardens were large, the offices good, 
the house itself, though convenient, with many fine 
rooms in it, was hardly worthy of its surroundings. 

It was very cold during my stay at Studley, frost and 
snow equal to the Highlands. William and I had a very 
chilly journey by coach after being set down I forget 
where out of Mrs Lawrence's comfortable chariot. 
Dear Annie was waiting for us at Doncaster, where 
William and I parted ; he went back to Edinburgh. 
Annie took me to the pleasant jointure house of a Mrs 
Walker, where we spent the night, and were amused and 
amazed at the Christmas storeroom ; it was as full as 
Mrs Lawrence's blankets, flannels, greatcoats, cloaks, 
petticoats, stockings, all the warmth that the poor could 
want in the winter season. I did not think such whole- 
sale charity wise ; there can be no spirit either of 
independence or economy where the expectation of 
relief unearned is a habit. 

Next day we reached Fountain Dale to dinner. It 
was a small house, with tiny, well-kept grounds planted 
out from a wide stretch of heath that had once been an 
oak forest. A chain of fish ponds, full of well-preserved 
fish, carp, tench, and such like, enlivened the scene. But 
though all was very tidy, there was no beauty either 
there or in the neighbourhood. 

Berry Hill, belonging to Mr Thomas Walker, was 
the nearest house to Fountain Dale, just about three 
miles off across the heath, a climb the whole way. Mr 
and Mrs Walker were hospitable people, very kind, 
childless, so they surrounded themselves with relations. 
Their connections were all among the mercantile 
aristocracy of England, a new phase of life to me with 
my old Highland blood, and one at which I opened my 


eyes with wonder. The profusion of money among all 
these people amazed poor me; guineas were thrown 
about, as we would not have dreamed of dealing with 
shillings. There was no ostentation, no great show any- 
where, but such plenty, such an affluence of comforts, 
servants well dressed, well fed ; eating, indeed, went on 
all day upstairs and downstairs, six meals a day the 
rule. Well-appointed stables, delightful gardens, lights 
everywhere, fires everywhere, nothing wanting, every- 
thing wished for was got ; yet, though good-humoured and 
very kindly, they were not really happier one bit than 
those who had to consider pennies and could only rarely 
gratify their tastes. 

Generally speaking, the generation which had made 
the money in the mills was more agreeable than the 
generation which had left the mills and was spending 
the well-earned money. The younger people were well 
educated so-called the men school and college bred, 
gentlemanly, up to the times ; but there was a some- 
thing wanting, and there was too much vivacity, too much 
noise, no repose. The young women were inferior to 
the young men ; they were accomplished, in the 
boarding-school acceptation of the word, but mind there 
was not, and manners were defective no ease. They 
were good, charitable, and highly pleased with their 
surroundings and with one another, and extremely 
proud of their brothers. 

They had all well-filled purses. I do not remember 
hearing the amount of their regular allowances, but I do 
remember well the New Year's gifts at one Walker 
house. There were four young people of the family, 
and on lifting the breakfast plate each found a fifty- 
pound note underneath it. William left with me five 
pounds for my winter's pocket money. This cut a sorry 
figure by comparison. 

General and Mrs N were not rich ; they lived 

quietly, had a small establishment, and, to the credit of 
the rich relations, lived amongst them upon equal 
terms. Annie, indeed, was the great lady everywhere, 
and extremely beloved. 


To say the truth, it was rather sleepy work this life 
in the forest, and yet the time passed happily. Annie 
was so bright, her four boys fine little fellows, and once 
a fortnight there was an oyster ploy ; the particular 
friends were invited to meet a barrel ,of natives and Mr 

N , the General's elder brother; by the bye, his 

wife was a nice, clever woman, unfortunately very deaf. 
At Berry Hill I once met Mr and Mrs Lempriere. He 
was a fat little lively man, the son of the " Classical 

One visit I did enjoy ; it was to the Strutts of 
Belper and Derby. 

The Strutts were silk weavers. The principal 
establishment was at Belper, near Derby ; such a pretty 
place, wooded banks and a river, and a model village, 
the abode of the workmen. Jediah Strutt, who had 
married a Walker, niece of the General's, was the 
manager and part owner of the Belper mills. He had 
an extremely pretty house in the village, with gardens 
behind it down to the river, and a range of glass-houses. 
There were schools, a hospital, an infirmary, a library, a 
chapel, and a chaplain of their own persuasion (they were 
Unitarians), all so liberally provided, Mrs Strutt and her 
young daughters so busy in all these departments, 
assisted by the dear old chaplain, who was really the 
soul of his flock. Then there was the mill ; it was the 
first of the sort I had ever seen, and it made a great 
impression on me. I forget now whether the moving 
power was steam or the water of the little river, but the 
movements produced by either are not easily forgotten. 
It all seemed to me like magic : immense rooms full of 
countless rows of teetotums twirling away by themselves, 
or sets of cards in hundreds of hands tearing away at 
cotton wool of their own accord ; smoothing-irons in long 
rows running out of the walls and sliding over quantities 
of stockings ; hands without any bodies rubbing away 
over wash-tubs, and when people wanted to reach another 
storey, instead of stairs they stepped upon a tray, pulled 
a string, and up they went, or down, as suited them. 

One huge iron-foundry was really frightful ; the 


Strutts manufactured their own machinery, and in this 
Cyclops den huge hammers were always descending on 
great bars of iron red hot, and the heat, and the din, and 
the wretched-looking smiths at work there made a dis- 
agreeable impression. It was a pleasant change to enter 
the packing-house. At this time large bales were being 
prepared for the Russian market ; the goods were built 
up neatly in large piles, high above our heads a rope 
was pulled, a weight came down, and the big bale 
shrank into a comfortable seat. 

One of the Strutt family, an old uncle, a bachelor 
and an oddity, was so enamoured of his machinery that 
he had as much " magic " as possible introduced into his 
own house ; roasting, baking, ironing, all that it was 
practicable so to manage was done by turning pegs ; and 
being rather a heavy sleeper, a hand came out of the 
wall in the morning at a certain hour and pulled the 
bedclothes off him ! 

This old Mr Strutt was charming, very simple, very 
clever, very artistic in all his tastes ; he had lived a great 
deal abroad, and at the close of those dreadful Napoleon 
wars had picked up gems of price of all kinds. His 
house was a museum ; paintings, sculpture, china, inlaid 
woods, not too many, and all suitably arranged. 

We went from this house next day on our way home 
to lunch at Mr Arkwright's, a beautiful little place in a 
valley ; such a luncheon, with hothouse fruits. The old 
gentleman came out of his mill in his miller's dress and 
did the honours gracefully. We paid another visit to 
my old friend Tom Walker of the Scots Greys. He had 
married a pretty Irish wife, Constantia Beresford, left 
the army, and lived in a rather pretty place near Derby. 
At his house I met two agreeable young men, an Irish 
Mr Bowen, a dragoon, and Count Lapature, an oddity, 
but a clever one, though a little fine. Another very 
pleasant acquaintance was Colonel Pennington, an old 
Indian friend of the General's. He spent a couple of 
months at Fountain Dale, and left it to return to Bengal 
to make out the two years required to complete his 
thirty-two years of service. 


He was an artillery officer, had commanded the force 
for some years, was thought a great deal of by military 
men, and was a clever, agreeable companion, but very 
plain, old, little, shabby-looking. We made him some 
marmalade, Annie and I, to remind him of his Scotch 
lady friends, and he wrote us some amusing verses in 
return. He was a furious hunter, and regretted nothing 
in England so much as his stud. 

I rode once or twice to Newstead with Colonel 
Pennington. Colonel Wildman was not then settled 
there ; it was undergoing repairs, having only just been 
bought from Lord Byron, and was a fine place certainly, 
well wooded, with a lake, gardens, and shrubberies, but 
flat, too flat. 

Haddon Hall was more interesting and less attractive 
than Newstead. A large, ugly house, the reception- 
rooms on the third storey ; they were small, low, and 
scantily furnished ; nobody lived there, and the Duke of 
Devonshire's visits were far apart. One thing touched 
me : the Duke was childless, unmarried ; beside the bed 
on which he lay when at Haddon was a small cot in 
which slept the little Cavendish boy who was to be his 
heir. I cannot recollect any other incidents of my life 
in Nottinghamshire. 

In May I went up to London with the General. 
We travelled all night, and about 6 o'clock in the 
morning I was met on Hampstead Heath by my dear 
little aunt Frere in her " demi-fortune." Uncle Frere 
had given up his town house, and lived now in a villa 
on Hampstead Heath, a comfortable house, standing in 
a small square of pleasure-ground enclosed by high 
walls, shutting out all view of very pretty scenery ; 
London in the distance with its towers and its steeples, 
and its wide-spreading streets, and the four or five miles 
between the great city and Hampstead Hill, a perfect 
confusion of so-called country residences. 

Life at Hampstead was pleasant in a quiet way, 
everybody was so kind. We got up early, as my uncle 
had to go to chambers after breakfast, and we drove 


into London nearly every day. We went to bed late, 
for we were often out at dinner, or at plays and 
concerts, and twice while I was there at the opera, a 
great treat for me. 

My uncle and aunt were all kindness, the children 
were dear little things, good and clever. My uncle had 
a great reputation as a man of business ; he was a kind, 
straightforward man, always intent upon giving pleasure 
to every one around him. My dear aunt was one of the 
" blessed " who are " pure in heart," and if any of us are 
ever to " see God " she will be of them, for her whole life 
on earth was a continued preparation for Heaven. Not 
a praying, stern, faquir-like life of self-imposed miseries, 
hardening the heart and closing it against all the gentle 
and beautiful influences created to be enjoyed by us ; 
her Christian creed was " to do good and sin not " ; 
self she never thought of except as a means of rejoicing 
others. She was in truth the minister of comfort to her 
circle, the sun of her sphere. She yielded to the habits 
she found, and she and all belonging to her were happy. 
What can we wish for more ? 

She had eight children at this time; John and 
George at school, fine boys, and two little men at 
school too, a day school, the lessons for which they 
sometimes prepared with me while I was with them. 
The two elder girls were nearly grown up, pretty, both 
of them, the two younger nice little bodies very fond of 
play. Anne was very clever. 

At the opera I heard Curioni, Pasta, De Begnis, 
Camporesi, Madame Vestris, and Velluti. The Messiah 
was admirably given at the Hanover Square Rooms. 
Cramer, who was giving lessons to Miss Richards, 
called, at her request, to hear the Highland girl sing 
" Hanouer," took his violin, caught up the air, and then 
played lovely music of his own as a return for the 
Gaelic " Crochallan," and "Castle Airlie." Sir Robert 
Ainslie came often to hear the old Scotch ballads, and 
George Rose to get a listener to his translation of 
Ariosto, which proceeded but slowly, and never, I 
believe, was published. 


Mr William Rose occasionally came to dinner, and 
that poor, mad poet, Coleridge, who never held his 
tongue, stood pouring out a deluge of words meaning 
nothing, with eyes on fire, and his silver hair streaming 
down to his waist His family had placed him with a 
doctor at Highgate, where he was well taken care of. 1 
A nephew of his, a fine young man, a great favourite 
with my uncle, often came to us on a holiday ; he was 
afterwards a great lawyer. Miss Joanna Baillie was a 
frequent visitor ; a nice old lady. Then we had Mr 
Irving of the unknown tongues, the most wonderful 
orator, eloquent beyond reason, but leading captive 
wiser heads. Men went to hear him and wondered. 
Women adored him, for he was handsome in the pulpit, 
tall and dark, with long black hair hanging down, a pale 
face set off with superb teeth, and a pair of flashing 
eyes. The little chapel he served was crammed with all 
the titles in London ; it was like a birthday procession 
of carriages, and such a crush on entering as to cause 
screaming and fainting, torn dresses, etc. 

Hatley Frere firmly believed in this man's rhap- 
sodies, kept him and his wife and their child in his 
house for ever so long, and brought them to us for 
a day. We thought them very dirty. He was busy at 
this very time calculating the year for the world to end. 
Happily the period fixed on passed away, to the exceed- 
ing relief of many worthy persons. 

At a concert of ancient music to which my uncle and 
aunt kindly took me I saw another celebrity the Duke 
of Wellington. He was standing talking with Rogers 
the poet, who seized on my uncle as he was passing to 
appeal to him on some subject they were discussing, 
and for five minutes I stood next the great Duke. 

1 As this passage has caused annoyance to some of Coleridge's 
family, the editor draws attention to the well-known fact that the 
poet's residence with Mr Gillman at Hampstead was purely 
voluntary. There are kindred inaccuracies scattered about the 
text, such as those on p. 139 relating to Shelley's departure from 
Oxford, which it was thought well to leave unnoticed, as being 
obvious hearsay and unlikely to mislead, owing to the abundance 
of evidence from other sources. 


My father had pleasant lodgings in Duke Street, 
where I went when he wished me to see some of his 
own friends. He took me to the Mackintoshes, where 
I dined. Sir James was not at home ; Lady Mackintosh 
was kind and agreeable, her daughter Fanny a nice 
girl, and Mrs Rich, Sir James's daughter by his first 
wife, both pleasant and clever. My father took me also 
to the Vines ; he was a rich merchant, very underbred 
I thought ; she, a quiet little woman, very kind to me. 
She took me to a grand review at Hounslow, where we 
went in Sir Willoughby Gordon's carriage. He was 
quartermaster-general, and intimate with Mr and Mrs 
Vine ; they were his neighbours in the Isle of Wight. 
Of course we were well placed, in the reserve space next 
to the Duchess of Kent, a plain, colourless woman, ill 
dressed, whose little daughter, wrapped in a shawl, gave 
no promise of turning out our pretty queen. 

My time for leaving my kind relations was drawing 
near. One way or another I had seen a good deal, and 
my uncle had been so good as to take me into his 
Latin class with the little boys, whose lessons I was thus 
able to help. I liked this much, and afterwards found 
my Latin very useful. 

The Eton holidays were at hand. John Frere and 
my brother John were to spend them at the Doune. 
They were to travel with my father and me. How 
happy they were ! We started by coach again (I was 
getting quite used to this vulgarity), passed through 
Oxford and thought of my aunt Mary, on to Liverpool 
to a good hotel, in the yard of which the boys, to their 
great delight, discovered a tank full of live turtle ; a 
disgusting sight I thought it, such hideous, apathetic 
creatures. Next day we went on board the steamer for 

My mother and my sisters left the Highlands soon 
after Christmas, and had been ever since staying with 
poor aunt Leitch, who was dying. 

My father stayed only two days in Glasgow. Mary 
and I and the two boys accompanied him home, leaving 
Jane as a help to my mother and Charlotte. We went 

368 RETURN TO THE DOUNE [1824-25 

by a fast coach that beautiful road past Stirling, Criefif, 
and Blair Drummond to Perth, where we got into the 
Caledonian coach, and so on by the old familiar road to 
our own gate, where a cart was waiting for our luggage. 
We walked the mile down the heathery brae to the 
boat at the Doune, and crossed our own clear, rapid 
Spey at our own ferry. 

I was glad to get home ; I was ill. My mother was 
shocked at my appearance. Dr Smith and the High- 
land air and the quiet life soon restored me. Of course 
during my mother's absence for such a cause we saw no 
company beyond the Bellevilles or a stray traveller ; 
but while the boys were with us we were very happy, 
fishing, shooting, boating, riding, out of doors all day, 
and I had my flowers to set in order. Mary regretted 
Glasgow ; it was a life of variety much more to her 
mind than that we led at home. Still she managed to 
amuse herself. 

I forget exactly when my mother and Jane returned, 
not before winter, I think. 

The year 1825 was spent happily at the Doune in 
the usual way, William busy, John a season at college in 
Edinburgh boarded with M. L'Espinasse, and then off 
to Haileybury, the Indian College for Civil appoint- 
ments, where he made a great name. Robert Grant 
got him the appointment, and there was no demur 
about it this time. We three girls were a great deal in 
Morayshire paying long visits, two of us at a time, to 
our many friends there. We were at Altyre, Relugas, 
Burgie, Forres House, etc. Altyre was very pleasant, 
so very easy. Sir William gave us a ball, which was 
extremely well managed, for they had amusing people 
staying with them, and they invited all the neighbour- 
hood besides. And we had those strange brothers 
whose real name I can't remember, but they one day 
announced that they were Stuarts, lineally descended 
from Prince Charles, out of respect to whose wife, who 
never had a child, the elder brother assumed the name 
of John Sobieski; the younger brother was Charles. 
Nobody was more astonished at this assumption than 


their own father, a decent man who held some small 
situation in the Tower of London. The mother was 
Scotch; her people had been in the service of the 
unfortunate Stuarts in Italy, and who can tell if she had 
not some right to call herself connected with them? 
Her sons were handsome men, particularly John 
Sobieski, who, however, had not a trace of the Stuart in 
his far finer face. They always wore the Highland 
dress, kilt and belted plaid, and looked melancholy, and 
spoke at times mysteriously. The effect they produced 
was astonishing; they were ftted to their hearts' 
content ; half the clans in the Highlands believed 
in them ; for several years they actually reigned in the 
north country. At last they made a mistake which 
finished the farce. Fraser of Lovat had taken them up 
enthusiastically, built them a villa on an island in the 
Beauly Firth, in the pretty garden of which was a small 
waterfall. Here Mrs Charles Stuart sat and played the 
harp like Flora Mac Ivor, and crowds went to visit them. 
They turned Roman Catholic, to please their benefactor, 
I suppose, and so lost caste with the public. Poor Mrs 
Charles was a meek little woman, a widow with a small 
jointure whom the " Prince," her husband, had met in 
Ireland. I do not know what had taken him there, for 
no one ever knew what his employment had originally 
been. Prince Sobieski had been a coach-painter not 
the panel painter, the heraldic painter and most 
beautifully he finished the coats of arms. 

Jane paid a long visit to Relugas, a lovely little 
place on a wooded bank between the Divie and the 
Findhorn, and then Sir Thomas and Lady Lauder, who 
were going to Edinburgh to a grand musical festival, 
took her with them, afterwards making a tour along the 
Border, a new country to Jane. One visit they paid 
was to Abbotsford. Jane was in an ecstasy the whole 
time. Sir Walter Scott took to her, as who would not ? 
They rode together on two rough ponies with the 
Ettrick Shepherd and all the dogs, and Sir Walter gave 
her all the Border legends, and she corrected his 
mistakes about the Highlands. At parting he hoped 

2 A 


she would come again, and he gave her a small ring he 
had picked up among the ruins of lona, with a device 
on it no one ever could make out. 

Mrs Hemans was at Abbotsford, a nice, quiet, little 
woman, her two sons with her, fine little boys, quite 
surprised to find there was another lion in the world 
beside their mother ! 

The Lauders brought Jane home in great glee and 
stayed a week or more, during which time they held 
mysterious conferences and went rambles alone, and 
went on very queerly. I was sure that some secret 
business was in train, but could not make it out, as 
I was evidently not to be let into it. At last the 
discovery came Sir Thomas was writing his first novel. 
The Hero was Mackintosh of Borlam, and most of his 
exploits were laid in the woods of Rothiemurchus and 
the plains of Badenoch. " Lochandhu " was really not 
bad ; there were pretty bits of writing in it, but it was 
just an imitation of Sir Walter Scott. I believe the 
book sold, and it certainly made the author and his 
wife completely happy during its composition. 

Lord Jeffrey, his wife, and Charlotte came to see 
us, and Lord Moncrieff, who won my heart, charming 
little old man ! We all went to the Northern Meeting, 
all five of us ; but without my father and mother. 
Glenmoriston took charge of us and his sister Harriet 
Fraser, and we went in a very fast style, escorted by 
Duncan Davidson, who arrived unexpectedly for the 

Mary was the beauty of the meeting. She had 
grown up very handsome, and never lost her looks ; 
she had become lively, and, to the amazement of the 
family, outshone us all. She was in fact a genius and 
a fine creature poor Mary ! 

In the autumn of 1826, besides our usual visitors, 
we had Alexander Gumming to bid us good-bye before 
returning to India, a fine, very handsome man, whom 
on account of the entail it was intended to marry to 
Mary, but they did not take to one another. The 


L'Espinasses came, she very absurd, he a clever 
Frenchman ; and Lord Macdonald, six feet four ; and 

Annie N ; what a happy summer we spent with 

her, all the people so delighted to see the Colonel's 
daughter ! 

Later came her husband the General, and his friend 
Colonel Pennington, who had been to India and back 
since he and I parted in Sherwood Forest. He was 
a very clever man, and very good, and very agreeable, 
but old and ugly. How could a young, brilliant 
creature like my sister Jane, so formed to be a young 
man's pride, fall to be this old man's darling ! But so 
it was; she did it of her own free will, and I don't 
believe she ever repented the step she was determined 
to take. It was an unsuitable marriage, distasteful to 
all of us, yet it turned out well ; she was content 

The N s left us in October, taking with them 

Mary, who was to spend the winter at Fountain Dale. 
They intended to steam from Inverness to Glasgow 
and Liverpool ; luckily this plan was given up ; the 
steamer was wrecked and nearly all on board were 
drowned. I don't remember any cabin passenger being 
saved except John Peter Grant of Laggan the only 
remaining child of nineteen born to the minister and 
his celebrated wife and young Glengarry. Among 
the lost was one of the pretty Miss Duffs of Muirtown, 
just married to her handsome soldier husband, and on 
their way to join his regiment ; their bodies were found 
clasped together, poor things, beside many others 

Colonel Pennington had outstayed his friends ; he 
and Jane wandered all over Rothiemurchus, apparently 
delighted with each other. At last he went 

It must have been in September 1825 that the 

N s and Colonel Pennington left us. Johnnie had 

gone back to college, and our diminished party felt 
dull enough ; a weight was on all our minds. We were 
sitting at dinner on a chill autumn evening, enlivened 
by a bright wood fire, and some of the cheerful sallies 
of William, who ever did his best to keep the ball up. 


The post came in ; I . gave the key ; Robert Allan 
opened the bag and proceeded to distribute its contents, 
dropping first one thick letter into a flagon on the side- 
board, as William's quick eye noted, though he said 
nothing. When we all seemed occupied with our own 
despatches he carried this letter to Jane. It was the 
proposal from her Colonel. She expected it, turned 
pale, but kept her secret for two days, even from me, 
who shared her room. She then mentioned her 
engagement to my father first, my mother next, and 
left it to them to inform William and me. There never 
was such astonishment. I could not believe it; 
William laughed ; my father made no objection ; my 
mother would not listen to the subject. More letters 
arrived, to Jane daily, to William and me full of kind 
expressions, to my father and mother, hoping for their 
consent. My father replied for all ; my mother would 
not write ; William and I put it off. Annie wrote to 
dissuade Jane, Lord Jeffrey and Miss Clerk to 
approve, the lover to announce his preparations. My 
father and William went to Edinburgh to draw up 
the settlements. It was found that the fortune was 
much smaller than had been expected, and from 
another source we heard that my father would not 
have been sorry to have offended the bridegroom, but 
he was not to be offended ; his firm intention was to 
secure his wife, and he would have thought the world 
well lost to gain her. Her interests were well cared 
for, why not? if old men will marry young women, 
young widows should be left quite independent as some 
return for the sacrifice, the full extent of which they 
are not aware of till too late. Well, the settlements 
were made by Sir James Gibson Craig, who well knew 
how to second my father in arranging them. After all, 
the couple were not badly off the retiring pay of a 
full colonel with the off reckonings, 25,000 in the 
Indian funds, and a prospect of Deccan prize-money- 
some few hundred pounds which he did not get till the 
year before he died. 

My mother wrote many letters to Edinburgh; she 


certainly did not wish to forward matters, but this 
spirited pair wanted no help. The bride asked whether 
she could be provided with some additions to a rather 
scanty wardrobe. The bridegroom set out for the 
Highlands and had the banns published in Edinburgh 
on his way ; a mistake of his man of business that was 
very annoying to all and caused some irritation. How- 
ever all got right ; Jane was determined ; she had 
argued the point in her own strong mind, decided it, 
and it was to be. Perhaps she was not wrong; the 
circumstances of the family were deplorable, there did 
not appear to be any hope of better days, for the 
daughters at any rate, and we were no longer very 
young. So a handsome trousseau was ordered, our 
great-uncle the Captain, kind old man, having left each 
of us 100 for the purpose. 

Colonel Pennington announced that he was engaged 
to dine with his brother in London on Christmas Day, 
so the wedding was fixed for the 2Oth of December 

It was a cold, dull morning. I had been up all 
night preparing the breakfast, for our upper servants 
were gone, had been gone since the spring. Miss 
Elphick, poor soul, had come to be present at the first 
marriage amongst us. Since she left us she had been 
with the Kirkman Finlays in Glasgow. She assisted 
my labours by torrents of tears. The Bellevilles were 
the only guests, Mrs Macpherson so sad. 

The ceremony was performed in the library by Mr 
Fyvie, the young Episcopal clergyman from Inverness. 
My mother's whole face was swollen from weeping; 
I was a ghost ; William very grave ; my poor father, 
the unhappy cause of our sorrow, did look heart-broken 
when he gave that bright child of his away. The 
bridegroom wore his artillery uniform, which became 
his slight figure ; he did not look near his age, and was 
so happy and so ugly ! The bride stood beside him in 
her beauty, tall, fresh, calm, composed ; it was to be 
done, and she was doing it without one visible regret. 
" I will " was so firmly said, I started. What happened 


after I never felt. Mrs Macpherson just whispered to 
me, " Help them, Eliza," and I believe I did ; I tried 
I know. Dear, kind Mrs Macpherson, what a friend 
she was, never tiring, so wise too ! 

The breakfast went off well. The Colonel was so 
gay, he made his little speeches so prettily, that his 
wife looked quite proud of him. He took leave of the 
humbler friends in the hall so kindly, and of us so 
affectionately, that we all relented to him before we 
parted. We went down to the boat ; the gentlemen 
crossed the water. On the gravelly shingle beyond 
were the London-built chariot and four horses, the man 
and the maid, and the two postillions with large favours, 
a mob of our people round the carriage raising such 
a shout as their " pride " ay, and their blessing was 
driven away. She never forgot the home of her fathers, 
never lost sight of the Duchus. Her protecting hand 
has been the one faithfully held over " the great plain 
of the fir trees." From that day to the day of her 
death she has been the mother to all our people, in weal 
or woe their prop. Beloved everywhere, she was 
worshipped there. Doing her duty everywhere, she 
has taken the duties of others on herself there. She 
departed that wintry day the only unmoved person in 
the throng. Home, to me at least, never seemed like 
home afterwards. 

Colonel Pennington had a hunting-box in Leicester- 
shire near the village of Normanton, where they lived 
till the spring. He then took a pretty, old-fashioned 
place called Trunkwell, near Reading, which they were 
very sorry to be obliged to leave in a year afterwards, 
when they fixed themselves at Malshanger for the rest 
of his life. It was near Basingstoke, in the higher part 
of Hampshire, an ugly house, but roomy and comfort- 
able. The garden was good, the grounds pretty, plenty 
of fine trees, the scenery of the neighbourhood inter- 
esting. They improved the place much during their 
time in it ; both of them had good taste and delighted 
in a country life. She liked her garden, her horses, and 
her new acquaintance, and was really happy, though 


her husband was not a good-tempered man, and 
certainly often forgot that he had married a girl who 
might almost have been his grand-daughter, so that at 
first they rather hobbled on at times ; but with so good 
and clever a man, and so admirable a character as hers, 
these little points soon wore smooth. They were not 
at first appreciated ; the disparity between them made 
people suppose all could not be right, that she was 
mercenary, or the victim of mercenary relations, but as 
they were better known they were better understood. 
Few have left a fairer fame in any neighbourhood. 


THE marriage was over, bride and bridegroom gone, 
cake eaten, guests departed, and my father, my mother, 
and I were left to spend the remainder of the stern 
Highland winter together, for William went to Edin- 
burgh on business and could not return. Alas! he 
was imprisoned for debt in the gaol on Calton 
Hill. The debt was of his own contracting, for in his 
college days he had been extravagant; he believed 
himself to be the heir of wealth, the son of a rich man, 
and he had the name of a handsome allowance which 
was never paid. 

At the time of the execution of the trust deed, he 
had taken all my father's debts upon himself, bound 
himself to pay them, and they were upwards of ^60,000. 
Had he been arrested for one of them, I think it would 
have killed my father ; I never saw him so much affected 
by anything ; and my poor mother, who had so gloried 
in the noble self-sacrifice of her son, sank under this ; 
they were very miserable. The debt could not be paid, 
even by degrees ; the sum allowed for the maintenance 
of the family and the expenses of the forest work was 
very small, and there were other creditors who would 
have come forward with their claims had we been able 
to satisfy this one. Now I saw the wisdom of Jane's 
marriage. She wrote pleasant letters; the post was 
our sunlight ; it came but three times a week, but such 
a full bag; the franks permitted a frequent correspond- 
ence. Jane at Normanton, Mary at Fountain Dale, 



meeting frequently at the various houses they visited, 
aunt Mary from Oxford, where she was now re- 
established in a small house, other letters and the 
newspapers, all helped to brighten the long evenings. 
Mr Caw always came in on the mail nights with his 
little bits of gossip for my mother. He lived at the 
Polchar in his capacity as book-keeper, which office he 
filled remarkably well. 

My mother never went out ; my father and I were 
never kept in, for though cold, it was sunny ; hard frost 
gave us power to walk miles without fatigue. Yes 
twice there were heavy falls of snow, which blocked up 
the hill road ; the mail coach could not run, it and the 
unfortunate passengers were dug out of deep wreaths, 
and we had no post ; so my father took to reading aloud 
while my mother and I worked. We had given up 
crossing the hall to the dining-room ; dinner was laid on 
a narrow table in the lobby, and wheeled into the 
library, my mother being unfit for the change of 
apartments. She was well shawled when she went 
to bed. 

Our establishment consisted of poor Robert Allan, 
who was butler and footman and gamekeeper, and never 
could be persuaded to leave a falling house. He had a 
fault, a serious one, he tippled ; but the man was so 
good, so worthy, it had to be borne with to the end, 
whisky and all ; he never left the family. The cook was 
Nelly, invaluable Nelly; she had been kitchen-maid 
under Mrs Watling, and now, by the help of my 
Cuisiniere Bourgeoise (the best French cookery book 
then known), she and I together turned out little 
dinners that really gave an appetite to my poor father 
and mother, both of them rather dainty. I always 
dressed in the evening; it pleased them. We had a 
bright fire, and we made conversation. William, my 
brother, wrote cheerfully; his young friends all went 
to see him, and the Gibson Craigs provided him 
with any amount of luxuries from Riccarton. Before 
long he was released ; nothing could be made 
of his confinement, so he was allowed to return home 

378 A TROUBLED TIME [1826 

a little before my father departed for London about 

It was a great relief to get William back ; I had 
done my best to carry out his orders, but the distances, 
the wintry weather, and the difficulty of procuring 
either money or food, made the position painful. 

In the summer of 1826 my father brought Mary 
home ; the fine weather revived our spirits, her cheerful 
gossip amused our poor mother, and the farm was 
selling eggs, and wool, and fruit, to the shooting lodges. 
We had no visitors, not even the Grants, this season. 
Aunt Mary had married again, Doctor Bourne, a rich 
man of great repute as a physician in Oxford. Kind 
aunt Mary ! she sent my mother 60. We had, when 
my father went to London, three wedders for our supply 
of meat ; we bought a score now, so with poultry, the 
garden, and the river, we did well till the winter such 
a winter ! our last in the dear Duchus. 

We were quite alone, my mother, my sister Mary, 
and myself, and William off and on as business required. 
My mother kept her room until late in the day ; Mary 
was her maid, and such a tender one. I had my tartan 
cloak, with a hood and a pair of gaol boots, and trotted 
across the yard to the cellar, and down to the farm to 
act housekeeper there, then back to the kitchen to 
manage the dinner. Fine education this. 

We were happy, though our troubles were great. 
We had mutton enough, thanks to dear aunt Mary, 
and we sold enough of other things to buy our groceries 
of Robbie Gumming. Inverness had refused to honour 
my orders ; heavy bills were there unpaid. Then there 
were the servants' wages; William paid the outsiders, 
but there was nothing for the insiders ; how good they 
were ! waiting so patiently, asking for their own as if 
begging for a favour. There had been good stores in 
the house, but they were vanishing. It was hard to 
bear up amid such perplexities. In a happy hour I 
opened my heart to the very kindest friend any one ever 
had, the Lady Belleville. Cold and harsh as the world 

1826-29] THE BARRACK-ROOM 379 

thought Mrs Macpherson, she had a warm heart, with a 
cool judgment, and untiring zeal in the service of those 
she loved. 

She proposed my writing for the press. I had tried 
this the winter before that heavy winter wrote what 
I thought a lively little paper, "An Old Story," from 
hints furnished by the vanity of our poor cousin 
Edmund Ironside after a visit of his to the hairdresser 
at Inverness, copied it fair, and sent it to Blackwood in 
a fictitious name, desiring an answer to be sent to Mr 
Sidey the postmaster at Perth, , where our bag was 
made up, there being no post-office for years after at 
Lynwilg. Day after day did I watch the boy who went 
to meet the coach ; no answer ever came. The editor 
probably never looked at the paper ; but, ushered into 
the literary world afterwards by Belleville, it was favour- 
ably received by his friend Mr Fraser, and brought me 
3. It did not go alone, Mary and I between us wrote 
a bundle of rubbish for the Inspector^ and received 
40 in return. 

We wrote at night in the barrack-room, for we had 
been obliged to leave our more comfortable apartments 
on account of the state of the roof over that end of the 
old house. Whenever it either thawed or rained we 
had five or six cascades pouring into tubs set round the 
walls to catch the water. The barrack-room was 
inconvenient too ; the little crooked staircase which led 
up to it was lighted by a large pane of glass in the roof, 
a skylight not very tightly fixed. Several times during 
the snowstorms we had to wade through a wreath of 
snow on the steps beneath it, pretty deep occasionally, 
so that we were wetted above the ankles, but we did 
not mind, we took off our shoes and stockings, and dried 
our feet by a good fire which we had provided for 
ourselves. Fuel being scarce, we gathered in the 
plantation as many fallen sticks as, assisted by a few 
peats taken from the stacks at the farm, gave us a 
bright fire for our midnight labours. Bits of candle 
stuck in succession on a save-all, manufactured by 
ourselves out of a nail and a piece of tin, performed 


the part of lamp, and thus enlightened, we wrote 

In an old patched dressing-gown with a warm shawl 
over it, my feet on the hearth-stone, and two or three 
potatoes roasting in the ashes, I passed many a happy 
hour. We worked late, for the Highland winters have 
very dark mornings, so we rose .late. Mary's papers 
were very clever, very original, well deserving of the 
praise they received. 

Dear old barrack -room ! the scene of some sorrow, 
and many pleasures. In our younger days, in John's 
holidays, we used to give private entertainments there 
far away from molestation. We contrived a fire, made 
coffee, boiled eggs, had bread and cheese and butter 
and porridge. John was the caterer, as nobody ever 
refused him anything. How merry we were ! Years 
after, when he was Governor of Jamaica, in one of the 
few letters he wrote me he recalled the gay doings of 
the barrack-room, the more enjoyable from their 

When Mrs Macpherson sent us our 4.0, she sent us 
also by her Macpherson boy, on his shaggy pony called 
Rob Roy, a Times newspaper in which was a most 
favourable criticism of our contributions to the Inspector, 
especially of Mary's " Country Campaign of a Man of 
Fashion." We were wild ; first we skipped, then we 
laughed, then we sat down and cried. In this state our 
only thought was, " We must tell mamma." 

She was alone at work in the library ; we laid our 
banknotes before her, presented the newspaper and Mrs 
Macpherson's note. We had dreaded her anger, for she 
was proud. Poor woman ! that was over ; she had 
suffered too much. " Dear good children," was all she 
said, and then she wept as we had done, but happiness 
prevailed. We had all the fun in the world arranging 
how to spend our treasure. We were so very badly off 
for necessaries, we had difficulty in settling what was 
most wanted. We had no walking shoes. It was 
amusing to see us in our house shoes old satin slippers 
of all colours patched at the sides, looking a little more 

1827] A VISIT TO HUNTLY 381 

respectable after we learned to dye them ; shabby dress 
gowns, because we had no plainer; the two servant 
maids as shabby as ourselves, saying nothing, good 
creatures, and very grateful for the share of wages we 
were now enabled to give them. We three, my mother, 
Mary, and I, kept our secret, for had William known of 
it he would have borrowed some, he was so hard up 
himself, to keep work going. We thought it best to 
put by a little, have a nest egg, for the hour of need 
might come again ; but it never came, thank God, and 
the kind friends raised up for us but I am running on 
too fast. 

My mother thought a few pounds should be spent 
on me, to enable me to accept a kind invitation to 
Huntly Lodge in the spring. Several pretty dresses 
had been sent to me as presents and never made up, and 
white muslin was plenty in Robbie Cumming's shop, so 
I set out with the Bellevilles for Huntly. 

I had always liked Lord Huntly, and he had known 
us young people from our birth ; my father and mother 
were as intimate with him as they had been with his 
mother, the beautiful Duchess, our pleasant neighbour 
for so many summers. He had married late in life, the 
unfortunate habit of too many men of fashion. Lady 
Huntly was an excellent woman ; she brought him a 
large fortune, a clear business head, good temper, and 
high principles. She soon set straight all that she had 
found crooked. She was not handsome, though she 
had a good figure, a good skin, and beautiful hands 
the Brodie face is short and broad ; but she suited him, 
every one liked her, and she always liked me, so the 
fortnight I passed with her was very agreeable. There 
were several guests in the house, a large dinner-party 
every day, all of the Gordon name. Two of the 
Montagues, the Ladies Caroline and Emily, were 
staying with their uncle and aunt ; and Lord Charles 
Russell. It was an ugly country, the grounds uninter- 
esting, nothing particular to do except the sorting 
of what became afterwards a very fine collection of 
shells and minerals, left by Lady Huntly, with all that 

382 THE END COMES [1827 

remained of her money, to her first cousin Brodie 
of Brodie. 

Mary had well filled my place at home. She had a 
genius for management, and she amused my mother 
with her forest tales. Newstead was a never-failing 
subject, for there she got among the great people both 
of them liked. Mary had delighted in the sociable life 
she had led there. Of course she found the poor old 
Doune dull after it ; had we not had our writings to 
occupy us her spirits might have got very low, for her 
fine mind was not sufficient for itself; with a spur and 
a prop she ran lightly through any life, wanting either 
she failed ; but now at home she had both, and well she 
did her part. She helped me in all my works and 
assisted our mother, and then skipped merrily at night 
up to the ~" regions of fancy " in the barrack-room. 

My poor mother just at this time received a great 
shock in the death of her eldest brother, William Iron- 
side of Houghton-le-Spring. He was thrown from his 
horse and killed on the spot. She was much attached 
to all her family, and she felt this much ; but there is a 
silver lining to most clouds. My father came back in 
the summer, John followed, and for a few weeks time 
passed as usual. Then came the end. 

The Borough of Tavistock, for which my father had 
sat in the last two Parliaments, was now wanted by the 
Duke of Bedford for his wonderful son, little Lord John 
Russell. This enforced retirement closed the home 
world to my father ; without this shield, his person was 
not safe. He left us ; he never returned to his Duchus. 
When he drove away to catch the coach that lovely 
summer morning, he looked for the last time on those 
beautiful scenes he dearly loved and most certainly was 
proud of, though he never valued his inheritance rightly. 
He went first to London and then abroad, taking John 
with him. Then came the news of his appointment to 
a judgeship in Bombay ; Charles Grant, now Lord 
Glenelg, had done it ; and we were desired to proceed 
to London immediately to prepare for the voyage. It 
was a blessing, and a shock to me at least ; every one 


else was rejoicing. Letters of congratulation came by 
every post ; my mother smiled once more, and set about 
her preparations for removal with an alacrity that 
surprised us. 

There was a good deal to be done, for the house was 
to be left in a proper state to be let furnished with the 
shootings, a new and profitable scheme for making 
money out of the bare moors in the Highlands. We 
were to take nothing with us but our wardrobes, all else 
was to be left for sale, and lists of the property left 
had to be made to prepare the way for the auction. 
The stock and crop at the farm, the wine, the 
plate, the linen, the books, all and everything that was 
not furniture was to go, except a few pet treasures 
packed in a small box and left to the care of Mrs 
Macpherson. She sent them to me afterwards, and I 
have a few still, but what belonged to the Doune I gave 
back to John, and my own small collection of coins I 
sold during our Irish famine when we were sorely 
pressed for money ; they brought only 50, very 
welcome at that sad time, a time that set me writing 
again, and with success. 

My mother upset herself by reading old letters 
before destroying them ; she was seriously ill. She 
warned me not to go through such a trial, and begged 
of me to burn all letters. I have done so, and regret it. 
Memory remains ever fresh; its recollections are as 
painful as the words of a letter. 

William would not let the creditors have the little 
pony carriage ; I don't know that it was exactly right, 
but nothing was ever said about it. It was given with 
its two pretty ponies, Sir Peter and Lady Teazle, to 
Lady Gibson Craig, by whom it was fully valued. It 
was the last remnant of our better days ; when every 
other luxury was parted with, that was kept for my 
mother's use ; she took no other exercise. When my 
father was at home he drove her out in it daily. I see 
them now he in his grey woodman's coat with leather 
belt holding a short axe and a saw, breeches and long 
leather gaiters, a hat lined with green and turned up 


behind, the shortness of his neck bringing the stiff 
collar of the coat too near the brim of it ; she in a drab 
greatcoat with a cape, made purposely for all weathers, 
and a queer-shaped black straw bonnet. Away they 
went all alone, out for hours, the commonest object of 
their drive being the pretty hill of Callart, at the end of 
Cambus Mor, which had been lately planted by my 
mother herself with money left her by her aunt Jane 
Nesham. Before Jane married, when my father was 
away she was the driver. She wore a large flap straw 
hat lined with green, her spectacles on, a plaid thrown 
round her; standing up at difficult corners, nodding 
and calling out to every passer-by, on she whipped, my 
mother, the greatest coward in the world, quite at ease 
under her guidance. Dear old days ! happy through all 
our troubles. " Isna the heart tough that it winna 
break ? " said the unhappy widow Macpherson, who lost 
her three fine sons in the Spanish War. 

The difficulty now was to provide funds for our 
journey. My mother had put by 10 of aunt Mary's 
money; we had $ left of the Inspector. Belleville, 
kind Belleville, brought us ^40, part the produce of 
another packet of papers already printed, part advanced 
by him on some more which had been accepted, and 
would be paid for shortly. The old landau was cleaned, 
the horses ordered, the heavy trunks packed and sent 
off to Inverness to go by sea to London, and we were to 
start in the evening to dine and sleep at Belleville. 

It was in August, early in the month ; the weather 
was beautiful, the country looked lovely, the Spey 
sparkled in the sunshine, the wooded hills on either side 
stood as they stand now, and we watched the sun 
setting behind Tor Alvie on that last day, without a 
tear. Mary and I had determined to be brave. We 
had called on every one of every degree ; we had taken 
leave of none, purposely avoiding any allusion to our 
approaching departure. We denied ourselves the 
sad pleasure of bidding farewell to favourite scenes. 
Once unnerved we feared giving way, so keeping 
actively busy, we went on day by day, looking forward 


with hope and drawing the veil of resignation over the 

My father had been knighted, and was safe in 
France, with John. William had been in London and 
Edinburgh and I know not where else, and had returned 
to take care of us. Poor William ! how broken down 
he looked, how wise and thoughtful he was. He said 
an honourable recovery was before my father, happiness 
and comfort secured to my mother ; we should nourish 
no feeling but gratitude. 

On this last day, all packing being done by the help 
of my mother's old maid, whom we had brought from 
her inn at Aviemore to be with her during the night 
(the only person in or out of the house who knew how 
near was our departure), William and my mother were 
in the study sorting papers in the large black cabinet ; 
Mary and I went out for a walk to the garden for fruit 
the pretty garden, all banks and braes and little dells, 
with hanging birch all round. It was just a step into 
the wood at the upper end and then on to the Milltown 
burn, chafing and sparkling in its rocky bed as we 
followed it along the path under the Ord. We crossed 
the wooden bridge ; I had always loved that shady lane 
with the old woman in her chair, with her fan, perched 
up high above, and the blue Cairngorm at the end. We 
went on ; we caught the loch, its dark fir screens, the 
cottages near this end, the flour mill, the ruined castle 
on its island, our own pretty cottage with its porch 
and little flower-garden and small green lawn sloping 
down to the loch, our boat tied to the old stump, our 
cow grazing ; we did not enter, we could not have sat 
down in the parlour our own hands had fitted up. We 
passed on into the path along the shore of the loch 
Loch-an-Eilan we did not go on to Loch Gaun, but 
turned off up the hill to the sheep-cote and so round that 
shoulder of the Ord by our own walk, to the seat round 
the birch tree on the knoll above the river where we had 
rehearsed our plays, and where Jane took the sketch of 
the Doune which Robson tinted ; then we went down 
through the wood to the walk by the Spey, coming out 

2 B 

386 THE DEPARTURE fi827 

at the gate by the church, and in again to the planting 
by the backwater and so to the green gate by the beech 
tree, with few words, but not a tear till we heard that 
green door clasp behind us ; then we gave way, dropped 
down on the two mushroom seats and cried bitterly. 
Alas for resolution! had we not determined to avoid 
this grief? Even now I seem to hear the clasp of that 
gate ; I shall hear it till I die ; it seemed to end the 
poetry of our existence. We had not meant to take 
that round ; we had gone on gradually, enticed by the 
beauty of the day, the loveliness of the scenery, the 
recollections of the life from which we were parting. 
Long after we returned to the memory of this walk, 
recalling views, thoughts, words, never to be forgotten, 
and which we spoke of at sea, at Pau, and at Avranches 
with a tender melancholy which bound my dear sister 
Mary and me more firmly together ; we had gone 
through so much with none to help us. Everybody has 
a life, an inner life ; everybody has a private history ; 
everybody, at least almost everybody, has found his own 
lot at some particular period hard to bear. The trials 
of our house were severe enough. When our young 
cheerful spirits felt their bitterness, what must our poor 
mother have suffered that last sad day; she so reserved, 
so easily fretted, so ill, and so lonely ; hers had been a 
thickly shadowed life, little of it really happy. 

She had slept well, Mrs Mackenzie said ; all through 
the day she was composed, kept busy by William. 
About five o'clock he showed us the carriage on the 
shingle at the other side of the river, and putting my 
mother's arm within his own, he led her out. No one 
till that moment knew that we were to go that evening, 
there was therefore no crowd ; the few servants from the 
farm, joined by the two maids from the house, watched 
us crossing in the little boat, to which Mary and I 
walked down alone behind the others. Crossing the 
hall, William had caught up an old plaid of my father's 
to put upon the seat of the boat ; he called old John 
Mackintosh to row us over Robert Allan was with the 
carriage. When leaving the boat, my mother threw the 

1827] CREDITORS 387 

plaid over the bewildered old man's shoulders. He 
knew it was the Laird's, and I heard he was buried in it. 
We entered the carriage, never once looked back, nor 
shed a tear ; very gravely we made out those eight miles 
among the hills and woods, and heaths and lochs, and 
the dear Spey, all of which we had loved from childhood 
and which never again could be the same to any of us. 

Belleville and Mrs Macpherson received us so kindly, 
so warmly, cheerfully as of old. The dinner was even 
pleasant, so skilfully did these best of friends manage 
the conversation. No one was with them. Mrs 
Macpherson sat a long while with Mary and me at 
night, strengthening right feelings with all her powers 
of wisdom. She had had two pretty lockets made to 
enclose her hair, and she cut in two a long Trichinopoly 
chain to hang them on ; these were her parting gifts. 
Belleville gave to each of us a writing-case fully 
furnished. My mother, who was a beautiful needle- 
woman, had been embroidering trimmings broad and 
narrow to be left as a remembrance to her friend of 
thirty years. We avoided a parting, having arranged to 
set off early, before our hosts were up ; the only deceit 
we ever practised on them. We travelled on through 
the bleak hill road, and posting all the way reached 
Perth for dinner. Here an unexpected difficulty met 
us : a coachmaker, not paid for some repairs at various 
times, seized the carriage for 40. He was inexorable ; 
we must pay the bill or lose the carriage. William 
came to me ; I never saw him more annoyed ; we were 
in despair, knowing how little would upset our poor 
mother. It was the last straw I recollected kind Belle- 
ville's 40 for my unfinished " Painter's Progress," very 
grieved to give it to such a hard man to pay him all 
when others, more deserving, would only get their due 
by degrees ; but we had no choice, so after a good 
night's rest we entered our redeemed carriage and drove 
on to Edinburgh ; there the carriage was seized again 
and allowed to go ; we wanted it no longer. We were 
much annoyed by hosts of unpaid tradesmen, whom it 
was agreed that I should see, as they were likely to be 


more considerate with me I, who could do nothing. 
William kept out of the way and we would not allow 
my mother to be worried. The only cross creditor 
among the crowd was old Sanderson the lapidary ; there 
really was not much owing to him, a few pounds for 
setting some of uncle Edward's agates ; these few 
pounds he insisted on getting, and as there was no 
money to be had he kept a set of garnets he had got to 
clean. They had been left to me by Miss Neale, the sister 
of our great-uncle Alexander's wife, were set in gold, and 
though not then the fashion, have been all the rage 
since. I was thankful to get rid of even one of those 
unfortunate men, whom I was ashamed of seeing daily 
at our hotel, Douglas's in St Andrew Square, where 
we were comfortably lodged, and where we had to wait 
for the sailing of the steamer which then went but twice 
a week from Leith to London and for a remittance to 
provide for our expenses. 

At that season very few of our friends were in town, 
which was a relief to all, but Lord Jeffrey and Lord 
Moncreiff came in from their country houses to take 
leave of us. They were much attached to my sisters 
and me : it was a truly uncle's kiss and uncle's blessing 
each left with us. I never saw Lord Moncreiff again ; 
Lord Jeffrey lived to greet me with the old warmth 
years afterwards. 

One day and night we spent at Riccarton with the 
Gibson Craigs ; neither house nor grounds were then 
finished. We thought the scale quite suited to the old 
place and fine fortune. They were all kind, father, 
mother, sons, and daughters. We had been intimate for 
so long, so much together. Mary was married, the rest 
all at home and very sad at the parting, even William, 
though he affected high spirits. His father could not 
turn him into a politician, but he became a very useful 
and agreeable country gentleman, and he gained great 
credit by the reforms he made in the Edinburgh Record 
office. I was very sorry to bid him good-bye ; his 
brother, afterwards my brother-in-law, was less attrac- 
tive, though so worthy. 

1837] BY SEA TO LONDON 389 

We were two beautiful days and calm nights at sea ; 
I recollect the voyage as agreeable. It was so calm we 
steamed on in sight of the coast great part of the way ; 
the sea was alive with shipping, mostly small craft, and 
then we sighted the N. Foreland. We entered the 
river, when I was actually startled by the sight of two 
large Indiamen outward bound, floating down with the 
tide so grandly, moving on their way, their long, long 
way, with such a silent dignity. There seemed to be 
no one on board but the crew. As we passed the huge 
hulls and gazed upon the open cabin windows, our own 
destiny, so little liked, seemed to come more certainly 
upon us, and I turned away and wept. 

We reached London, or rather Blackwall, in the 
afternoon, engaged two hackney coaches for ourselves 
and our luggage my poor mother ! there was a fall ; 
she did feel it and on we went to Dover Street, 
Piccadilly, where lodgings had been taken for us in the 

name of General N . He and dear Annie were 

there to welcome us. So began a busy time. It is so 
long ago, so much was done, so very much was suffered, 
that I can hardly now, at the end of twenty years, recall 
the events of those trying days ; the order of them has 
quite escaped me. The few friends in or near London 
in the month of September gathered round us, dear 
aunt Lissy and all her Freres, and good old Sophy 
Williams, Jane and Colonel Pennington, Lord Glenelg 
and Robert Grant. 

A violent ranging disturbed us one day, and a 
violent knocking too, by several people all insisting on 
being let in, on seeing some one, on finding Sir John 
Grant ; he was in these lodgings, they were sure. My 
father had come to see Sir Charles Forbes, and he had 
been watched and tracked ; he had lodged here before, 
during a fit of illness, and it was a mistake that they 
were taken for us, but he knew the old maiden landlady 
who had been so kind to him would be attentive to his 
family, and she was ; he had won her heart, as he won 
every one's, and she stood to us well. She said she had 
let her rooms to General N , whose wife's trunks 

390 AT MALSH ANGER [1827 

with her address on them were luckily in the hall, and 
so she got rid of this alarm. For fear of another, it 
was determined to divide our party. John went to the 
Freres, Mary was carried off to Malshanger, my father 
and mother went to a lodging in a distant street, the 
General returned to his Cat and Fiddle, leaving dear 
Annie with me. Margaret Cooper came too now and 
then to help me, and Mary having left her measure with 
the required trades-people, I got through my work well, 
Lord Glenelg lending his carriage, for he would not 

allow Mrs N and me to go to the city or the docks 

in a hackney coach without a footman. Our imprudent 
father could not keep quiet ; he was so well known he 
was followed once or twice, and he was so near-sighted 
he might easily have been seized, so it was resolved to 
send him away, and on a Sunday he and John steamed 
from the Tower stairs to Boulogne. William saw them 
off and then took my mother to Malshanger. At 
rest at last, I got on quickly with the necessary 

As soon as all was in train, all our assistants at work, 
little Christy and I went down by coach to Basingstoke ; 
there Jane met us driving quiet old " Goody " in her 
basket phaeton, and on we went four miles to that most 
comfortable, thoroughly English place, Malshanger, 
pretty, in an uninteresting country, being well wooded, 
the ground undulating, and the neighbourhood thickly 
studded with gentlemen's seats. We spent three most 
pleasant weeks at Malshanger the Colonel seemed so 
glad to have us, and he was so good-natured. He rode 
with me all over those fine Hampshire downs, miles and 
miles away in every direction, he on his hunters in their 
turn, I on the " gentle Mortimer," which always carried 
his master to covert all through the hunting season. 

My mother had gone to Oxford to stay with aunt 
Mary in her new home, a very wealthy one. Dr 
Bourne, a clever and amiable man, took good care of 
my mother, put her into good health, and kept her till 
William went to bring her up to London a few days 
before we started for Portsmouth, for the parting had to 

1827] ON BOARD 391 

be borne poor Jane ! We were very few days in 
town ; the outfitter did all the packing. The Govern- 
ment gave 2000 for the outfit. The passage money 
was of course high ; we had three of the best cabins, and 
there were the French expenses, and about 400 passed 
through my hands. Good Mrs Sophy Williams 
presented Mary and me each with a few yards of lace 
neatly folded ; on opening the parcels a five-pound note 
was found pinned on the lace. 

We had finished all our business with fewer mistakes 
than could have been expected, considering all that had 
to be done and how little used to management were the 
doers, and at 5 o'clock next morning we were picked up 
by the Southampton stage coach, with Lewis Grant in 
it as our escort; William had gone to France. Sir 
Charles Forbes, whose essential kindness was almost 
unexampled, had sent one of his head clerks to attend 
my mother on her journey. Lewis Grant of Kincorth 
and his twin brother had been wards of my father ; 
there was an old connection between us. 

Was it Southampton, or was it Portsmouth we 
sailed from? I think it must have been Portsmouth. 
Mrs Gillio was already there with her daughter and her 
brother, Colonel Grant. In the evening word was 
brought that our ship had moved out to the roads, Spit- 
head, and though she would not sail till the following 
day, the passengers were ordered on board at once. 

It was late in the September day the 28th in the 
year 1827 nearly dark; we got into a good sailing 
boat and proceeded out to sea, Mrs Gillio, her brother, 
and Lewis Grant with us. In an hour we reached our 
" ocean home " ; down came the chair, we were soon 
upon the deck, amid such confusion, noise, hubbub, all a 
dream, but not to last long, for the rumour grew in a 
moment that the wind had changed ; our captain 
ordered the anchors up; our kind friends must go. 
Mrs Gillio parted with the last of her daughters, her 
youngest child, and with us whom she loved almost as 
well. Lewis Grant came up from the cabin, where he 
had been comforting my mother. He took leave of my 

392 THE SHIP SAILS [1827 

sister and me, a quiet leave. Had he not a romance at 
the bottom of his honest, warm Highland heart? I 
thought so when he and I met again and talked of her 
" who had no parallel." He had told my mother of the 
arrangement with Captain Henning, she was therefore 
watching for my father. We stood out to sea and 
beat about till nearly ten o'clock, when a Jersey boat 
sighted us, came alongside, and my father and both my 
brothers came on deck ; a few moments were allowed 
us. My father shut himself up with my mother ; John 
remained beside Mary and me. William, in an agony 
of grief, burst out of our cabin ; we listened to the 
sound of the oars as the Jersey boat bore him from us, 
and then said Mary, pale as a corpse, "We are done 
with home." 

William's story from that period for the next four 
years would be a good foundation for a novel; his 
struggles were very hard. He bore his trials well, and 
was helped by many friends, proving that there were 
kind hearts in a world some of us have found it a 
mistake to call so hard as it is reputed. I may touch 
on his romance again; at present I proceed with my 

According to an arrangement with the creditors, Sir John Grant's 
debts were ultimately paid by himself and his son William. 


A LONG four months' voyage in a narrow space among 
a crowd of strangers. My father and mother were the 
principal people ; we had the best accommodation, and 
we formed a large party ourselves. My father and 
mother had one poop cabin, Mary and I had the other, 
Isabella's smaller one opened out of ours ; opposite to 
hers was Mr Gardiner's ; the two deck cabins were 
occupied by my brother John and the captain. It was 
a little circle apart from everybody else ; they were all 
below on the main deck. 

Lieutenant-Colonel and Mrs Morse were returning 
to India ; a little girl with two brothers who had been 
at school in England, were going back to their parents 
in Ceylon ; a young cavalry officer, a doctor, and I do 
not know how many cadets ; altogether, with the three 
mates, between thirty and forty at the cuddy table, not 
omitting Mr Caw, that clever, good-hearted oddity, who 
was going with us to India in the hope of being pro- 
vided for, as his long, unwearied services deserved. 

Mr Gardiner was very agreeable and soon became 
a favourite with my father and Mary. He was a 
civilian, not young ; he had been ten years in India, 
and was returning there after a two years' leave. He 
was about thirty, had held a good appointment, and 
expected a better. The family was Irish; the father, 
Colonel Gardiner, had inherited money and made more, 
and had left a large sum to his five children. A 
daughter died, one married a very gallant soldier Sir 



Edward Blakeney two sisters remained unmarried and 
lived with an aunt at Twickenham. No difficulties 
could occur to render this intimacy undesirable, so while 
Isabella and I at the cuddy door were warbling pretty 
canzonettes to our light guitars, and listening in our 
turn to Mrs Morse, who often brought her harp up on 
deck in the evenings, Mr Gardiner and his ladye love 
amused us all by the care they took never to be far 

We landed on the 8th of February 1828 in Bombay. 
We entered that magnificent harbour at sunset, a 
circular basin of enormous size, filled with islands, high, 
rocky, wooded, surrounded by a range of mountains 
beautifully irregular ; and to the north on the low shore 
spread the city, protected by the fort, screened by half 
the shipping of the world. We were standing on the 
deck. " If this be exile," said my father musingly, " it 
is splendid exile." " Who are those bowing men ? " said 
my mother, touching his arm and pointing to a group 
of natives with coloured high-crowned caps on some 
heads, and small red turbans on others, all in white 
dresses, and all with shoeless feet, who had approached 
us with extraordinary deference. One of the high caps 
held out a letter. It was from uncle Edward, who had 
turned the corner round Sir Griffin Wilson's wall so 
many years ago with his hat pulled down over such 
tearful eyes, and these were his servants come to 
conduct us to his country house. 

I wish I had preserved a more minute recollection 
of my first Bombay impressions ; they were very vivid 
at the time, and I remember being struck with surprise 
that all accounts of India that had fallen in my way 
were so meagre, when materials new and strange were 
in such abundance. 

At soon as all the dignitaries and all the undignified 
had paid their visits my mother and I had to return the 
attention. Mary was excused on account of her 
approaching marriage, which ceremony indeed inter- 
rupted our civilities ; but we got through as many calls 
as we could. 


My sister's marriage was a grand affair. I do not 
remember how many people my aunt thought it 
necessary to invite to the breakfast ; there were about 
twenty present at the ceremony in the cathedral. We 
had such a cousinhood at the Presidency, and Mr 
Gardiner and my uncle had so many friends, and there 
were my father's brother judges, etc. Good Mr Carr, 
afterwards bishop, married them. 

For so very pretty a girl as Mary then was, so 
beautiful a woman as she became, there never was a less 
interesting bride. Her dress was heavy and unbecom- 
ing, and a very large veil, the gift of Mr Norris, hid all 
of her face except her nose. She was perfectly self- 
possessed all through the ceremony, and she went off 
with her husband in her new carriage to Salsette with as 
much composure as if she had been going for a drive 
with me. 

I never pretended to understand Mary; what she 
felt, or whether she did feel, nobody ever knew when she 
did not choose to tell them. Like Jane, and I believe 
like myself, what she determined on doing she did, and 
well, without fuss, after conviction of its propriety. One 
thing is certain, she married a most estimable man, to 
whom she was truly attached ; she made a most happy 
marriage, and she valued her husband to the end of her 
days as he deserved. 

Our lovers returned after a retirement of ten days, 
and then began a round of entertainments to the newly 
married pair. Every incident was seized on by the 
community as excuse for party-giving. An Indian life 
then was eventless ; to me it was very dull after Mary 
married and John left us. Really, old as I was, I was 
quite the fashion a second season of celebrity, a 
coming out again ! Like my father, I have all my life 
looked ten years younger than my age ; nobody guessed 
me at thirty, and being good-looking, lively, and obliging, 
I reigned in good earnest over many a better queen than 
myself. Of course everbody was busy marrying me. 
" Now, don't mind them, Eliza, my dear," said uncle 
Edward; "don't fix yet, wait for Smith, my friend 

306 COLONEL SMITH [isas 

Smith ; he'll be sure to be down here next season, and 
he's the man I have chosen for you." Then my aunt, 
" I don't mind your not liking old so-and-so or that 
tiresome this, and that ill-humoured that, I had rather 
you married Colonel Smith than anybody," Then my 
cousins, " Oh you will like Colonel Smith, Eliza, every 
one likes Colonel Smith." " My goodness, Miss Grant," 

said Mrs Norris, " is it possible you have refused ? 

The best match in the Presidency will certainly be in 
council I Everybody must marry here ; whom do you 
mean to marry, pray ? " "I am waiting," said I, " for 
Colonel Smith." 

One morning I was sitting at work ; the cooler 
weather had restored us our needles and I was employ- 
ing mine for Mary's expected baby, my mother lying 
on the sofa reading, when the chobdar in waiting 
announced Colonel Smith. He entered, and, in spite 
of all the nonsense we had amused ourselves with, we 
liked him. "Well," said Mary, on hearing who had 
called, "will he do?" "Better than any of your 
civilians," answered I, laughing, and we thought no 
more about him. 

He had come down from Satara, where he com- 
manded, for change of air; he lived with his friend, 
Dr Eckford, and we frequently met them in the 
evenings driving and sometimes in society, but our 
paths did not seem to cross. He paid no particular 
attention to me ; nor did he dine in my father's house 
till many months after we had become acquainted. 
My father and he had got into a sort of pleasant 
intimacy ages before he seemed to think of me. We 
rode always on the Breach Candy road, which was 
close to us and agreeable from its skirting the sea, 
and our new companion seemed to like political dis- 
cussions, for he and my father rode on in front deep 
in the Catholic claims which were then being finally 
discussed in Parliament, while I, by myself, had plenty 
to do in managing that dreadful Donegal and watching 
the Parsees' morning adoration of the sun. 

These rides continued all the cold weather, our 

1828] BIRTH OF A NIECE 397 

party latterly reinforced by my cousin, John Gumming, 
who was staying with us, and who sometimes got 
twisted out of his usual place by me to the side of 
my father, Colonel Smith exchanging with him for 
a turn or two, to my father's regret, who on these 
occasions observed that the captain had inopportunely 
interrupted a very interesting argument on the influence 
of the Irish priesthood over their flocks; that poor 
Smith was a sad Orangeman, quite benighted, but 
honest and worth enlightening 1 

So began my happy future to gleam on me, 
particularly after a few hints from Dr Eckford, whom 
my mother about this time began to talk of as Love's 
messenger, and then styled roundly Cupid ; such a 
Cupid ! He knew his business well ; threw shafts and 
bow away as unsuitable to a staid brigadier and a 
maiden past her prime. His object was to touch the 
lady's reason, which he did, no matter how. Who 
would have thought that a marriage thus systematically 
arranged could have turned out so well? It took a 
long time, however, for India, and while it was pro- 
gressing my mother's first grandchild was born. It 
was my brother John's birthday, the 23rd of November, 
and all the cousinhood were assembled at the Retreat 
to do him honour; Gregor and Mary Grant were 
indeed staying with us. Mr Gardiner and Mary were 
expected, but just before dinner they sent their excuse ; 
she did not feel quite well. On leaving the hall a note 
summoned my mother, and after the company departed 
I set off to Prospect Lodge, mounting the long, long, 
dimly-lighted steps that led up the side of the hill 
without a thought of the snakes I used at other times 
to be so nervous about 

The clock had struck twelve ; it was the 24th. 
Five minutes after my arrival my little niece was laid 
upon my knees, and I believe for weeks after I thought 
of no other existing creature. We sisters had gone 
through so much together. This blessed baby opened 
another view of life to all. 

To me I know that my baby niece was a perfect 


delight all the pleasant cold weather; I walked about 
with her in my arms whenever she was brought to the 
Retreat or I could contrive a visit to Prospect Lodge. 
Before the birth of the baby Mary had been for months 
very suffering, first the heat and then the rains incom- 
moded her greatly. She never took to Indian life, 
never rose to meet the fresh air in the mornings, and 
the evening drive was often shirked. The beginning 
of March brought a degree of heat which she found 
oppressive ; she was ill, and advised to try the cooler 
air of the higher land ; so an expedition was arranged 
to Khandalla, a beautiful plain at the head of the pass 
up the Ghauts on the road to Poonah. 

As Mary would be dull alone, I was to go with her 
and her husband, a plan I liked. A change was 
pleasant, a journey in India new, life in tents delightful ! 

My letters from Khandalla, and my more vivid 
descriptions in conversation quite bit my father with 
a wish to change the relaxing air of the seaside for 
the freshness of the mountains; but he undertook a 
much more daring exploit than a visit to the Poonah 
Ghauts. Colonel Smith had inspired him with a wish 
to see more of the country, to try a few weeks of the 
Mahableishwa Hills during the present hot season, 
when Bombay was really too oppressive. These 
charming hills were in our new friend's district; he 
commanded the brigade at Satara, and Mahableishwa, 
though thirty miles distant, was included. 

A large double-poled tent of Colonel Smith's was 
to be lent to us during our stay on the hills. The 
Governor's small bungalow, and the Resident's a little 
way off, were the only houses at the station ; every- 
body else lived in tents, scattered about anywhere in 
groups of from five to six according to the size of the 

The mountain air was enchanting, the sun hot in 
the middle of the day, yet quite bearable, the mornings 
and evenings delightful, the nights rather cold. The 
society was on the pleasantest footing ; the way of life 
most agreeable as soon as we got into it. 


My Colonel used to meet me most mornings just where 
the path from our tents joined the road ; we then went 
on together. One morning, either I was later than usual, 
or he was earlier, at any rate I arrived and he was not 
there. I did not know that I looked disappointed, but I 
suppose I looked up and down the road. " The Colonel 
Sahib has gone on," said the syce, pointing to the fresh 
marks of a horse's feet. I blushed, a little at the man's 
sharpness, a little at my cool Colonel's easy way of 
taking matters. 

And now our time was up, and we were to go back 
to Bombay, and it was necessary to acquaint Sir John 
and my lady that I thought it wiser to go instead to 
Satara. It was but thirty miles, every comfort was 
already there in my Colonel's bungalow, most of my 
wardrobe was with me, and some furniture ; a clergyman 
was at hand the smiling one the Judge could grant 
the license, and the Resident do all the rest. 

My father was delighted, particularly when he heard 
about the bachelor brother and the Irish estate. He 
was charmed, too, at the idea of the mountain wedding, 
so queer, so primitive. Not so my mother ; she had no 
wish for any marriage, it would only throw so much 
more trouble on her. She did not see that either of my 
sisters had done much for herself by her determination 
to marry. Jane bound to an old man who might be 
her grandfather, ugly, and not rich. Mary given up to 
her baby, never seeing a creature, nor of use to any one. 
She did not understand this craze for marrying ; pray, 
who was to write all the notes ? Colonel Smith was 
just a soldier, an Irish lad who went out as a cadet, like 
any of our Scotch lads, and a marriage huddled up in 
that sort of way, in a desert, on a mountain, without a 
church, or a cake, or any preparations, it would be no 
marriage at all, neither decent nor respectable ; she, for 
one, should never consider people married who had been 
buckled together in that couple-beggar fashion ; if there 
were to be a marriage at all it should be a proper one, 
in the Cathedral at Bombay by the clergyman who 


officiated there, friends at the wedding, and everything 
as it ought to be. 

There was no help for it, she was resolute, so we had 
to travel down the ghaut, and along the plains, a 
hundred miles, I think, for she would have no more sea, 
and travel back again after the ceremony, at the loss of 
a month's extra pay, for the Colonel did not receive his 
allowances when on leave. 

So, a goodly company, we set out, Major Jameson 
and the Colonel riding, my father in a palanquin like 
the ladies. We travelled long and wearily before 
reaching the first halting-place, a comfortable bungalow 
where all was ready for a late dinner. The two gentle- 
men had ridden on, my mother and I were not long 
behind them, but we waited nearly an hour for my 
father, who, obliging his bearers to follow some 
directions of his own, had gone a long round. Good 
claret, well cooled, and some champagne, greatly 
enlivened the entertainment. 

On we went, arriving in Bombay in high good 
humour, all but poor Colonel Smith, whose horse shying 
or stumbling at the crossing of the stony bed of a river, 
he got a severe fall, and was laid up for some weeks 
from a strain, in his friend Dr Eckford's house. 



MR GARDINER and Mary had removed to a house 
in the Fort in Rampart Row, where they were engaged 
in packing up their effects, having determined on going 
home to England. We were all distressed at this 
strange resolution ; he was in good health, she no 
worse in India than at home, and the child was thriving, 
so that to throw up the service when he was so near 
the top seemed a pity. However, they had decided on 
going; they took their passage in a small Liverpool 
merchantman, three hundred tons, and waited only 
to see me married. The last week of their stay, 
having sold all they did not mean to carry home, they 
removed to the Retreat, which I was glad of for all their 

Ten days before our marriage, news arrived of the 
death of my Colonel's brother, which made him possessor 
of the Irish estate, then valued at 1200 a year. My 
Colonel wished me to put on mourning for his brother 
on reaching Satara, so my wardrobe had no addition 
with the exception of three pretty new gowns sent out 
luckily by the London dressmaker for me, with a pelisse 
and hat and feathers for my mother, which she, not 
fancying, made over to me. 

My father gave me twenty gold mohurs on my 
wedding morning, and as uncle Edward had also given 
me a present, I felt rich for the first time in my life ; 
and I never felt poor again, and though circumstances 
reduced our future income infinitely below our expecta- 


402 MARRIED [1829 

tions, we so managed it that we have never owed what 
we could not pay, nor ever known what it was to be 
pressed for money. 

My Colonel was married in his staff uniform, which 
we thought became him better than his cavalry light 
grey. There was a large party of relations, a few friends, 
and the good Bishop, then only Mr Carr, married us. 
My mother, who had become reconciled to my choice, 
outraged all propriety by going with me to the 
Cathedral ; both she and I wished it, as I was to proceed 
across the bay immediately after the ceremony. So it 
all took place, how, I know not, for with the awfulness 
of the step I was taking, the separation from my father 
and mother, and the parting for an indefinite time from 
dear Mary, I was bewildered all that morning, and hardly 
knew what I was doing till I found myself in the boat 
sailing away among the islands, far away from every 
one but him who was to be in lieu of all to me for 

In the month of October, asthma, to which for many 
years my husband had been subject, attacked him 
seriously. Night after night he spent in an easy chair 
smoking stramonium and appearing to suffer painfully. 
As the fit became worse instead of better, Dr Bird, 
who had returned to his duties, advised change of air, 
not to Poonah but to Bombay, to leave the high ground 
at once and descend to the coast for a while. He told 
me privately the stomach and liver were deranged from 
long residence in a tropical climate and that our best plan 
would be to return home. This neither of us wished, 
and we suggested the Neilgherries ; he said they were 
only a makeshift, present ease, but no remedy. So we 
proceeded to Bombay, where we took up our residence 
with my father and mother. 

Colonel Smith felt better for a day or two, and 
then he got ill again. Dr Eckford recommended a 
consultation, so Dr M'Adam and Dr Penny were called 
in, and they decided for a voyage home. Whether they 
were right or wrong, who can say? They were so 
uneasy about him that they asked for a private interview 

829] ORDERED HOME 403 

with me, and told me he was in serious ill-health, had 
been too long in that climate, that another season could 
not but go very hard with him, that a stay in the Neil- 
gherries was only a palliative, not a cure, and that, in 
short, were he not to sail for England they could not 
answer for the consequences. 

My father was unwilling to lose us from India. He 
went again to Dr M'Adam, and on returning told me 
there was nothing for it but the voyage home. I must 
own I was very sorry. We had made up our minds to 
remain three years longer, and this sudden retirement 
from place and pay was a disappointment. 

After many inquiries, visits to many ships in 
harbour, and careful search as to their commanders, we 
decided to sail in the Childe Harold, a new, swift vessel 
beautifully fitted up, commanded by Captain West, an 
old experienced lieutenant in the Royal Navy. He was 
to make a coasting voyage, which was particularly 
recommended for my husband. 

This settled, we furnished one of the poop cabins 
without much cost, as my father made over to us a good 
deal of our former cabin furniture. The small cabin 
next ours was taken for little Willy Anderson and his 
maid, who was to act as mine. The Colonel engaged a 
native male attendant, as when a violent fit of asthma 
attacked him he was totally helpless. The small cabin 
opposite was taken by Dr Eckford, who had resolved 
to pay a short visit to the Cape. We had thus prepared 
for as much comfort as a homeward voyage admits of; 
it is rarely as pleasant as a voyage out, for, in general, 
health and spirits are wanting to those who are leaving 
their occupation behind them. 

My last sight of my father was in the cabin of the 
Childe Harold, where he and my mother left me late on 
the evening of the 4th of November ; he lingered behind 
her one moment to fold me to his heart again, neither 
of us speaking, and then he vanished from my sight for 
ever. Long I sat listening to the stroke of the oars 
which carried them back in the darkness to their 
desolate home. It was a dreary parting. 


Very early in the morning of some day towards the 
end of April 1830 we anchored in the roads off Ports- 
mouth. Most of the gentlemen called boats and went 
ashore. Captain West returned with delicious things 
for breakfast, fresh eggs, butter, cream, fine bread ; how 
we enjoyed the feast 1 It gave us strength for our 

Our two servants bestirred themselves ; Malek was 
to remain on board in charge of our heavy luggage ; 
Mary, with the trunks selected, was to land with us. 
The Colonel was the difficulty ; for a week past he had 
not been able to move hand or foot without bringing on 
a spasm. They had said at Bombay that he would not 
live to reach home. They said at sea that he would die 
on the voyage. It seemed this last day as if we should 
never get him safe ashore. 

A chair was prepared, he was carried out to it, laid 
on it, lowered to the boat, lifted up and settled among 
cushions. We were about half an hour rowing in, and we 
landed by the same steps on the same quay, and we had 
secured rooms at the same hotel looking on the harbour, 
from which I had started two years and a half before 
for India. The captain had taken the rooms in the 
morning as the nearest to the water and so the most 
convenient for the poor Colonel. What was our amaze- 
ment when the boat struck, to see him rise unassisted, 
walk up the steps, and along the quay in his large cloak, 
and seat himself in the little parlour without a gasp ! 
We ordered what seemed to us the most luxurious of 
repasts, tea, bread and butter, and muffins ; we even 
played whist, and when we went to bed, the Colonel lay 
down and slept till morning, the first time he had 
ventured on such an indulgence for six weeks. I was 
too happy to sleep. 

Next day I walked about the town with my Colonel 
and found it piercingly cold on the Ramparts. Before 
going out I had written to Jane to say we should be 
with her next day. Dear Jane, she was watching at the 
gate when we reached Malshanger. 


The party assembled at Malshanger consisted of 
Mary, her husband, and two children, Tom having 
been born the previous January, William, aunt Bourne, 
and her stepdaughter, Henrietta. Aunt Bourne had 
been at Malshanger all along; her rich and happy 
marriage had ended in a second widowhood, and she 
was left the charge of a stepdaughter, who was to her all 
that her own daughter could have been. Henrietta was 
particularly attractive in looks and manners, and took 
to us all. Poor little Willy Anderson, who cried bitterly 
on leaving his "auntie," was to be delivered to Miss 
Elphick in Kensington ; she had given up the governess 
line, having her mother to provide for, and was trying 
to establish a sort of infant boarding-school, which, poor 
soul, she never succeeded in making a profitable 

The Gardiners had taken a cottage at a pretty 
village three miles off down the hill, surrounding the 
parish church which we attended ; they took it for six 
months. It was an old, good-sized farm cottage, with a 
porch, and a draw-well, and latticed windows, and a 
new front, with large rooms, and large windows looking 
on a flower-garden. Their voyage in that little boat 
had been very boisterous ; they escaped shipwreck by a 
mere chance; instead of landing at Liverpool they 
were stranded on the coast of Galloway, landed in 
boats, started with half their luggage for London, 
in postchaises, and after a London lodging took a 
house at Ham, to be near Mr Gardiner's aunt, Miss 
Porter; then they tried Cheltenham, and at last 
responded to Jane's proposal of this cottage. A few 
days sufficed to settle them most comfortably. They 
were very happy there, always cheerful, everything 
nice about them, the children merry, dear little things. 
Jane and I often drove in the basket-carriage with 
" Goody," and while she wandered through the 
village visiting the poor people who shared her 
bounties, I sat by Mary's work-table in the window 
opening on the garden, where Mr Gardiner delighted 
in being busy, little Janie in her white frock and 


blue sash trotting about the room, and baby Tommy 
on my knee. 

All parties were anxious that my Colonel and I 
should settle in that neighbourhood ; there was a 
desirable place, Tangier, to be let, but we could not take 
it. The sharp air disagreed with him, and besides, duty 
and his early attachments recalled him to his own green 
isle. In London he was comparatively well; asthma 
attacked him directly he returned to us. It was plain 
he could not stay at Malshanger, so he left us for 

My sisters and I had a subject of anxiety In William's 
engagement to Sally Siddons; about this time she 
came on a visit to Mary, her sister Elizabeth followed to 
Malshanger ; William, of course, was with his affianced. 
The news of their engagement had not reached Bombay 
when we sailed. I met it in England, I must say, with 
dismay. I feared my mother would give way to a 
violence of disapproval that would make all concerned 
very uncomfortable, and that would upset my father. 
Very anxiously we all awaited our Indian letters, Jane, 
Mary, and I were grave, William in a fever, Sally calm. 
Mrs Siddons had written to my father detailing the 
progress of the attachment, which she would not sanction 
without his consent. She touched on William's faults 
of character, but believed them to have been redeemed 
by the way in which he had supported adversity. 
William was keeping his terms at the Temple, Lord 
Glenelg having obtained permission for him to proceed 
as a barrister to Bengal. The last paragraph of Mrs 
Siddons' letter did probably no harm; it stated that 
Sally's fortune would be at least ten thousand pounds. 

My father received this letter alone, and alone he 
determined to consider it before venturing to inform 
my mother. He passed a sleepless night, and when at 
dawn he made up his mind to rouse his sleeping partner 
with the news, he found he might have saved himself 
all perturbation; my mother had heard nothing for a 
long while that had given her so much pleasure! A 
most cordial invitation to William and his wife accom- 

1830] AN END 407 

panied the consent to the marriage ; Jane gave a grand 
dinner, Colonel Pennington produced champagne, and 
an evening of happy family cheerfulness followed. 

On the 3rd of July my baby girl was born. I had 
a peep of my husband on his way from Dublin to 
London, and he returned only to take me away, being 
ordered by his doctor to Cheltenham for a course of the 
waters. He came back in a pretty britchska that he 

and William had chosen for me; Annie N and 

these two travelling together In it. After a few days 
we packed up and packed off, and then indeed I felt I 
was gone out from among my own kindred, and had set 
up independently a husband a baby an end indeed 
of Eliza Grant. 


P. 1 8. His wife did not long survive him. She was killed on 
the 2nd of August 1797, in a carriage accident, whilst travelling 
from England to Rothiemurchus with her daughter and son-in- 
law on a first visit to their northern home. They stopped at 
the inn of Feshie to water the horses, and whilst the bits were 
out of their mouths, a herd of pigs dashed round the corner of 
the inn, and knocking down a ladder leaning against the wall, 
startled the horses, who set off at full speed towards the bridge 
over the Feshie ; the bridge had no parapets, the wheels went 
over the side, and phaeton and all fell over down the steep 
rocky banks to the bed of the river. The landlord, who had 
rushed after, arrived in time to save the laird by catching hold 
of his heel as he was disappearing over the brink; he was 
severely injured, but Mrs Ironside was killed on the spot. 
Mrs Grant, with her baby, Eliza, was in another carriage, and 
witnessed the accident ; it is still remembered in the country- 
side how the poor lady scrambled down through the shrubs 
and rocks, crying on her mother, to find her lying dead below. 

P. 24. A long low hill. The Doune hill is supposed to 
be inhabited by one of the numerous Brownies of tradition. 
This one was a friendly little fellow who used to come out 
nightly from his hill, and work hard in the kitchen tinkering 
the pots and pans in return for "the cream-bowl duly set." 
But one unfortunate night the laird was kept awake by the 
hammering, and cried out peevishly to the Brownie to stop his 
noise and be off with him. The Brownie, in high dudgeon, 
retired within his hill, and has never resumed his service at 
the Doune, though he is supposed to account for the 
occasional disappearance of milk left standing in the offices. 


410 NOTES 

He may still be heard at work inside the hill, and there is a 
belief that in time his resentment will subside and he will 
return to his former haunts. One of the babies of "the 
family," born in 1843, was peculiar-looking as a new-born child 
from having marked features and unusually long dark hair ; at 
first sight of her one of the old women who had come for the 
occasion cried out, "Eh, sirs! it's the Brounie come back 
again ! " 

P. 64. Where they came from . . . / really do not know. 
In 1701 four brothers Raper, Richard of Langthorne, 
Henry, Matthew, and Moses, were entered at Heralds' 
College as grandsons of Richard Raper of Bodesley, county of 
York, and entitled to bear his arms. Moses married Martha, 
daughter of Sir William Billings, Lord Mayor of London, from 
whom he bought the manor of Thorley in 1714. Dying 
without issue, he left Thorley to his brother Matthew of 
Wendover Dean, in the county of Bucks, who married 
Elizabeth, sister of Sir William Billings. This Matthew 
had seven children, of whom the eldest succeeded him at 
Thorley, and is the great-uncle Matthew of the Memoirs; 
the fourth was John of Twyford House, ancestor of the 
Grants and Freres; the sixth was Henry, father of Admiral 

P. 64, Descended in the direct line from Sir John 
Beaumont. There is a mistake here. Elizabeth Beaumont, 
though of the same stock as the Beaumonts of Grace Dieu, 
did not (alas !) descend from them but from an elder branch. 
Sir Thomas Beaumont, the second son of John, first Viscount 
Beaumont, married Philippa Maureward, heiress of the 
Manors of Godesby and Cole Orton. He had two sons, John, 
who succeeded him (d. 1459), and Thomas, ancestor of the 
Beaumonts of Grace Dieu. The fourth in descent from John 
was Sir Nicolas of Cole Orton (d. 1502). The descendants of 
his eldest son, Sir Henry, carried on the main Cole Orton line 
for a time, when it reverted to the descendants of his second 
son, Sir Thomas of Stoughton Grange ; the male line of the 
Beaumonts of Cole Orton came to an end with Sir George 
Beaumont, the friend of Wordsworth, fifth in descent from Sir 
Thomas of Stoughton Grange. Elizabeth Beaumont was 
fourth in descent from the same Thomas; she married Dr 
William Hale, and died 1726; he died in 1758, aged 84. 

NOTES 411 

Their only child, Elizabeth, married John Raper of Twyford 

P. 68. He must have been the Admirals father. He was 
the Admiral himself, and figures as a boy of ten or twelve in 
his cousin's diary. There are, however, various passages in it 
concerning "Dick," afterwards Lord Howe, who seems to 
have loved and have sailed away. When his sister-in-law, Mrs 
Howe, has to inform Miss Raper of Captain Howe's marriage 
elsewhere, she enters in her diary : " Thought I should have 
died. Cried heartily, damned him as heartily, and went about 
loose with neither life nor soul." Another curious entry under 
loth October 1758 describes how a largish party of ladies 
went to the fair at Blackheath, and continues, " Got out again 
safe and sound, a pretty good crowd, got kissed three of us in 
coming back." The diary is mostly in cipher. 

P. 1 08. Sir William Grant, the Master of the 
story goes that on one occasion, when Dr William Grant 
arrived from London late at night, he was met at Aviemore by 
his brother, the laird, who bade him go at once to the help of 
one of the floaters' wives, who was in sore trouble. He did 
so, and before morning a lad-bairn, the future Master of the 
Rolls, was safely born. Perhaps he owed his fore-name to 
this circumstance. 

P. 174. Among the skits of this witty satirist was a 
doggerel ballad rhyming all the crack-jaw names of the High- 
land clans. One of the verses runs thus : 

Come the Grants of Tullochgorum 
Wi' their pipers gaun before 'em, 
Proud the mithers are that bore 'em, 

Fee fa fudle fum. 

Come the Grants of Rothiemurchus, 
Ilka ane his sword and dirk has, 
Ilka ane as proud as a Turk is, 

Fee fa fudle fum. 

P. 1 8 1. The kirkyard at Rothiemurchus contains the 
tomb of the Shaw who was captain of the Clan Chattan in the 
battle between the clans at the Inch of Perth. On the slab 
covering him stand five curious cylinder-shaped stones, one at 
each corner and one in the middle, which tradition says 
disappear and reappear with the ebb or flow of the fortunes of 

412 NOTES 

the family in possession of Rothiemurchus. While the Duke 
of Bedford rented the Doune, one of his footmen, an English- 
man, carried off one of the stones for a frolic, causing great 
indignation among the people, not appeased by his being 
made to bring it back ; and when, a few days after, the poor 
fellow was drowned in fording the Spey, no doubt was enter- 
tained that he had brought on his doom by his temerity in 
meddling with the Shaw's stone. 

P. 184. In the year 1556, / think. It was in 1570 that 
Patrick received from his father a charter of the lands of 
Muckerach and others; in 1580, upon his own resignation, he 
received another of the same lands, in which he is designed 
" of Rothiemurchus." 

P. 184. The Shaws having displeased the Government by 
repeated acts of insubordination. Allan Shaw, the last of the 
Shaws of Rothiemurchus, was outlawed and his estates 
confiscated for the murder of his step-father, Sir John Dallas. 
There was bad blood between the two, his mother's marriage 
being highly displeasing to the young man. One afternoon, 
as Allan was walking along the road, his dog, seeing Dallas 
enter the smithy, followed, and was kicked out by him. Allan 
drew his sword, entered the smithy, cut off Dallas' head, and 
returning to the Doune threw it down at his mother's feet. 
The room she was sitting in is still pointed out. The scene 
of the murder was a spot now included in the garden, and 
every August the scent of blood is said to rise there in 
memory of the deed committed in that month. Shaw fled 
from justice, and met with his death shortly afterwards. 
The Chief of Grant purchased for a large sum his estates, 
or rather the right to hold them if he could, and bestowed 
them with the same condition on his second son Patrick. 
The Mackintosh, as Shaw's chief, considered the defaulter's 
property should have fallen to him, and Patrick's possession 
was by no means an easy one. 

P. 1 86. Grizzel Mor. During the troubles of 1688 this 
lady successfully defended the Castle of Loch-an-Eilan from 
an attack made upon it after the Battle of Cromdale, by a 
party of the adherents of James II. under General Buchan. 

P. 1 86. Surnamed Macalpine, I dorft know why. He 

NOTES 413 

was formally adopted into the Clan Alpine, and given the 
name, in recognition of his friendliness and good offices to the 
unfortunate Clan Macgregor. 

P. 1 86. Lovat. There is a story well known in the north 
that Macalpine and Lovat, playing cards together, and 
Macalpine hesitating long over his play, Lovat grew impatient 
and urged him to go on with the game. "Well, Lovat," said 
Macalpine, " the truth is, I have a hand that puzzles me ; 
you'd be fitter to play it yourself, for it's a knave between two 

P. 187. Stories of Macalpine' s days. They are still to be 
heard by those who bring an ear for the Gaelic. Here are 
one or two. 

The Mackintosh set up a mill just outside the Rothie- 
murchus west march, and threatened to divert the water from 
the Rothiemurchus lands. Macalpine, having received Rob 
Roy's promise to back him, sent a haughty letter to the 
Mackintosh, who thereupon vowed to march in his men and 
burn the Doune. Macalpine was at this time at variance with 
his chief, and could not expect assistance from him, and, being 
unable to cope alone with so powerful a chief as the 
Mackintosh, grew very uneasy as time passed and Rob Roy 
made no sign. The Mackintoshes were assembled in force on 
the march, and Macalpine sat one night in his room with his 
head down on his arms on the table, when he felt 'a heavy 
hand on his shoulder, and a voice spoke, " What though the 
purse be empty the night, who knows how full it may be in 
the morn ? " He started up, and there was Rob Roy, alone, 
with no sign of followers. After a hearty greeting, the laird 
asked " But where are your men, Rob ? " " Take you no 
heed of that," said Rob, and called for his piper. Up and 
down in front of the Doune house paced the piper playing the 
" Macgregors' Gathering " ; and as he played, on the opposite 
side of the Spey in Kinrara appeared two Macgregors, and 
then three Macgregors, and then two Macgregors, till at last a 
hundred and fifty of the prettiest men in Rob Roy's band were 
standing there fully armed. And the piper had orders not to 
stop playing till all were out, and it nearly burst him. And as 
the Macgregors came out by twos and threes, the Mackintoshes 
on the opposite side stole off by fours and fives, until, as the 
last Macgregor took his place, the last Mackintosh disappeared. 

414 NOTES 

Then Rob Roy wrote a letter to the Mackintosh (which is 
repeated from beginning to end in the original Gaelic), in 
which he threatened to go through his country and leave not 
a man alive nor a house unburned if any further displeasure 
were offered to Rothiemurchus. And he bade Macalpine send 
for him if occasion arose, and he would.come, no matter how far. 
"But," said Rob, "it's a far cry to Balquhidder, and no one 
here who knows the way " ; so he left behind him two of his 
young men, great runners, who would go to hell if he bade 
them, to be despatched to fetch him if need were, for they 
would do a hundred miles in twenty-four hours. The 
Mackintosh's mill was destroyed, and a song was made of it 
called " The Burning of the Black Mill." The tune is one of 
the best reel tunes in the country-side. 

Macalpine had a daughter (natural) called Mairie bhuie, 
or yellow-haired Mary. One of the young men left behind by 
Rob Roy fell in love with her, and she with him, but 
Macalpine would not hear of it So Macgregor and she ran 
off together, and hid themselves in a distant part of Rothie- 
murchus. About five or six years afterwards the laird was out 
hunting and lost his way. Presently he saw a bothie, and 
Mairie, looking out, saw him, and bade her husband run 
quickly out at the back and hide. And when Macalpine 
came in she warmed and comforted him, and gave him good 
food and good drink, until, when he was rested and refreshed, 
he said to her, "Noo fetch me the guidman's heid in your 
apron." "Na, na, Laird," she answered, "I've ower mony 
heids at my fireside for me to spare you his heid." " Hoot, 
lassie," said Macalpine, "gae 'wa and bid him come ben." 
So Macgregor was called in, and Macalpine gave him the 
farm of Altdru. They lived there from generation to genera- 
tion till the time of Hamish Macgregor, who was the last of 
the race. He died in the Doune Square in 1890. 

It is said that Macalpine never slept at night without 
praying for two men, Rob Roy and the Duke of Gordon. 

P. 1 88. His second bride. The story goes that Macalpine, 
being determined to marry, asked Tullochgorm if he had 
any marriageable daughters, and was answered two, who 
were entirely at hii disposal. So Macalpine went wooing to 
Tullochgorm, but the two young ladies, brought in one after 
the other, declined the old laird's proposal. Nothing daunted, 
Macalpine asked if there was no other daughter of the family, 

NOTES 415 

and was answered, "Ay, there's a bit lassie rinnin' aboot." 
Macalpine bade them send for her. "So Rauchel was fetched 
in from the byre, and when she came ben she just made 
a graan' curtsey, and said, 'Deed, Macalpine, it's proud I'll 
be to be Leddy Rothiemurchus. ' " So they were married, 
and she became the mother of several fine sons. 

Macalpine's age both at death and at his marriage with 
Rachel has been greatly exaggerated by tradition. Their 
eldest son, William, received a commission in the Highland 
Regiment in 1 742 ; he was probably a year older than his 
brother Lewis, who was born in 1728. This would bring 
Macalpine's second marriage to 1726 at latest, at which date 
he was sixty-one years old. His first wife was the daughter of 
Patrick, tutor of Grant, second son of John Grant, sixth of 
Freuchie, Chief of Grant. 

P. 252. He was long regretted. "The Captain " is so well 
remembered that he is still seen at times looking out of the 
upper windows of the house at Inverdruie. 

P. 263. A certain William Grant. It was when Dr 
William Grant was living at the Doune that there befell a quarrel 
in the kitchen between the cook and the turnspit ; she came 
crying to her master that the boy had raised a knife at her and 
cut off her hair ; he meanwhile took to his heels, and Dr 
William, coming to the door, saw him running down the 
avenue at top speed. " Come back, you black thief, till I give 
you your wage ! " shouted the Doctor in Gaelic. " Wait you 
till I ask for it," called back the boy. This was how General 
William Grant came to enlist 

P. 369. Sir Walter Scott. Scott has a reference to one 
of the Rothiemurchus traditions in the fourth canto of 
Marmion : 

And such a phantom, too, 'tis said, 

With Highland broadsword, targe, and plaid, 

And fingers red with gore, 
Is seen in Rothiemurcus glade, 
Or where the sable pine-trees shade 
Dark Tomantoul and Auchnaalaid, 

Dromouchty, or Glenmore. 

The gigantic figure is said to offer battle to the belated 
traveller through the woods ; to him who boldly accepts it no 
harm is done, but a display of terror is punished by death. 


Abercrombie, Lord, 314 
Abernethy, Parson John of, 207- 

210, 252 

Achnahatanich, 351 
Acres, Mrs, 31 

Ainslie, Sir Robert, 73, 92, 365 
Alison, Sir Archibald, 328 
Allan, Mr and Mrs, 314 

Robert, 372, 377, 386 
Almondell, 316 
Altyre, 44 
Alvie, 22, 168, 243, 245 

Mr Macdonald of, 252, 253 
Anderson, John, 298 

Sam, 308 

Willy, 403, 405 
Anguish, Mrs, in 
Appleby, Nanny, 78 
Arbuthnot, Sir William and Lady, 

286, 308, 336 
Argyll, Duke of, 302 
Arkwright, Mr, 363 
Arndilly, 44 
Augusta, Princess, 150, 151, 152, 

155, 157 
Augustus, Prince, 150, 157, 313, 

Aust, Mr and Mrs Murray, 44, 

Aviemore, 22, 51, 239, 277 

BADENOCH, 41, 83, 183, 239 
Baillie, Colonel, 95 

Grace, 91, 92, 174, 239, 283, 284, 
288, 291, 330 

Joanna, 366 

Mrs, 95 

Bain, John, 172, 351 
Balfour, Mary, 143 
Ballindalloch, 44, 221, 228 

Ballintomb, 88, 251 
Balnespick ; see Mackintosh of 
Barnes, Col., 73 
Barnewell, Colonel, 358 

Mrs ; see Ironside 
Barrington, Lady, 16 
Bathurst, Lady Harriet, 350 
Battle Abbey, the field of, 12 
Beaumont, Elizabeth, 64 ; notes 410 

Sir John, 64 

Beckvelt, M., 50, 54, 72, 161 
Bedford, Duchess of, 169, 225, 305, 

Duke of, 43, 50, 322, 339, 382 
Bee, Jacky, 18 
Belleville, 168, 247, 273, 300; see 

Macphersons of 
Belper, 362 

Bennets, the Missel, 72 
Bennie River, the, 201 
Beresford, Miss Constantia, 363 
Berry Hill, 360, 362 
Bhealiott, 88 

Bianchi, Mrs, 124 ; see Lacey 
Billington, Mrs, 114 
Bird, Mrs, 91, 170, 174 

William, 170 
Bishop's Stortford, 3, 54 
Blackburns, the, 19, 79 
Blackwood, Mr, 379 
Blair, Anderson, 297-300 

Sir David Hunter, 341 
Blair Athole, 166, 167, 299 
Blakeney, Sir Edward, 394 
Bombay, 394, 399, 400, 402 
Bonner, Mrs, 38 
Boswell, Sir Alexander, 174, 235, 

288, 321 ; notes 411 
Bourne, Dr, 378, 390 

Henrietta, 405 

Mrs, 6 ; see Ironside 
Braemar, 201 

2 D 



Brae-Riach, 168, 227 
Braham, 124 

Brewster, Sir David and Lady, 211, 
286, 312, 336, 337, 341, 349, 

35 2 
Brodie, Mr, 253 

Mrs Dunbar ; see Burgie 

of Brodie, 253, 382 

of Lethen, Miss, 97 
Brougham, Lord, 328 
Brown, Dr, 284 
Buchan, Lord, 115, 165, 313 
Burdett, Sir Francis, I2O 
Burghead, loo 
Burgie, 44, 95 

the Dunbar Brodies of, 96, 97, 

174, 267 
Burgoyne, Colonel, 352 ; Lady, 280, 

301, 352 ; see Holme 
Bury, Lady, 303 
Byron, Lord, 163, 364 

CADOGAN, Colonel, 90 
Cairngorm, 168, 385 
Cameron, James (cousin), 26, 41, 
44, 69, 70, 88, 89, 145, 183, 
190, 192, 200, 233, 239, 270- 
Mrs James (cousin), 192, 199, 

Jenny, 171 
Mary (cousin), 192, 199, 200, 

233, 250 
Murdoch, 88 
William, 217, 233, 257, 271 

his sons, 233, 235, 244 
Campbell, Betty, 6, 7, 8, 23, 193, 

225, 239, 256, 299 
Elizabeth, 174 

John, 8, 23, 239, 256, 257, 299 
Canning, Mrs, 342 
Carnegie, Elizabeth, 293 
Carr, Mr, 395 
Mrs, 170 

the Bridge of, 107 
Carrs, the, 330, 342 
Castle Grant, 27, 44, 45, 89 
Catalani, 115, 124, 125 
Caw, Mr, 321, 377, 393 
Charlotte, death of Princess, 342 

Queen, 342 
Cheltenham, visit to, 140 

Chichester, Lord Spencer, 320 
Clarkes of Dalnavert, the, 353 
Clavering, Lady Augusta, 302, 

Clerk, Bessy, 286, 322, 324, 325, 

341, 372 
John, Lord Eldin, 286, 313, 322- 

334, 353 

Wm., 286, 325, 335, 336 
Cluny, Macphersons of, 44, 92 
Cochrane, Charles, 311 

Miss, 318 

Cockburn, Mr, 335 
Coleridge, S. T., 366 
Colleys, the, 29, 172, 223 
Collins, Mr, 141, 142, 143 
Combe, Dr, 179 
Comyns, the, 83, 183, 185 
Conyngham, Lord, 355 

Mr, 174 

Cooper, Mr Arthur, 28, 94, 257, 
279, 280 

Mrs, 28, 83, 84, 94, 95, 258, 279, 

Cornwallis, Marchioness of, 305 

the Ladies, 350 
Corrour, John, 187 
Coulmonie, 97, 267 
Coxe, Mr, 136, 137 
Coy lam, bridge of, 197, 201, 


Craigcrook, 319, 334, 336 
Craigellachie, 1 68, 277 
Croft, the, 26, 183, 192, 199, 200, 

212, 213, 217, 239, 259, 270, 

281, 352 
Culduthel, 280 
Cuming, Mrs, 105 
Gumming, Gordon, of Altyre, Sir 

William, 100, 104, 174, 175, 

Gumming, Gordon? of Altyre, the, 

83, 91, 174, 175, 273, 309, 

Gumming of Logic, 44, 102, 266, 

Alexander, 103, 104, 266, 328, 

Lady (Baillie), 91, IO2-IO5,~I73, 


her sons, 328, 330 
Lady (Grant), 94, 146, 191 
Curtis, Sir William, 354 



DALLAS, Mr, 26 

Bailing, Capt, 319 

Dalnacardoch, 167 

Dalnavert, 89, 185 

Dalwhinnie, 87, 167, 351 

Dalzels, the, 327, 353 

Daniels, the Misses, 72 

Darnaway Woods, the, 102 

Dashwood, Mrs, 146, 188 

Davidson, Duncan, of Tulloch, 

Margaret, no, 170, 180 

Day, Mrs, 8, 10, n 

Deadman, Mrs, 155 

Dell, the, 192, 198, 199, 212, 214, 
27i, 352 

Denton, Mrs, 71 

D'Este, Colonel; see Augustus, 

Devonshire, Duke and Duchess of, 

Dirom, Sir Philip, 315 

Divie Castle, 278 
River, the, 105, 369 

Donegal, Marquis of, 320 

Doune, the, 5-8, 21-25, 29, 30, 31, 
39, 40-43, 70, 74, 81, 82, 87, 
90, 102, 107, 109, 157, 161, 
163, 168, 169, 173, 183, 188, 
189, 194, 199. 200, 213, 214, 
225, 230, 237, 242, 244, 247, 
248, 252, 272, 290, 300, 304, 
305, 326, 345, 346, 349, 358, 
367, 368 ; notes 409 

Downs, the, 156 

Drews, the, 157, 158, 

Druie River, the, 197, 198, 201, 
221, 346 

Drumochter, 167, 172 

Drury, Mrs, 161, 303 

Duff, the Misses, of Muirtown, 280, 


Duffus, 99, 102 
Dulnain River, the, 107 
Dunbar, Sir Archibald and Lady, 

99, ioo 

Dunbars, the, 99 
Dundas, John Hamilton, 354 
Dundee, 166 

Dunkeld, 40, 166, 298, 299 
Dunmore, Lord and Lady, 158 

old Lady, 158 
Dunn, Finlay, 311 

Dursley, Lord, 156 
Duthil, 44, 87 


Eckford, Dr, 396, 397, 400, 402, 


Edinburgh, I, 3, 6, 10, 20, 79, 165, 
244, 246, 283, 289, 302, 307, 
316-320, 329, 321-344, 359, 
372, 373, 376, 387 
Charlotte Square, I, 5, 6, 8, 316 
George Street, 307 
Great King Street, 344, 359 
Heriot Row, 284 
Picardy Place, JI 9 , 321, 334, 344 
Queen Street, 302, 307 
the Lord Provost of, 308 
Elchies, Lord, 24, 243 
Eldin, Lord ; see Clerk 
Eldon, Lord Chancellor, 83, 141 

Lady, 142 

Elgin, 3, 69, 99, 101, 102 
Ellenborough, Lord, 63, 161 
Elouis, Mons., 330, 331 
Elphick, Miss, 161, 164, 167, 170, 
172, 173, 175-181, 197, 202, 
205, 224, 231, 237, 238, 24.5, 
253, 255, 257, 258, 266, 271, 
282, 283, 285, 296, 331, 334, 
336, 340, 373, 405 
Erskine, Harry, 115, 313, 316 
Lord, 115, 313, 329 
Mrs, 316 

FAVRIN, Caroline, 161, 170, 180, 
235, 238, 244, 253, 254, 25$ \.% 

Fazakerly, Mr, 242 

Ferguson, Sir Adam, 325 

Sir James and Lady Henrietta, 

Fincastle, Lord, 158 

Findhorn, the, 96, 102, 105, 107, 

Finlays, the Kirkman, 340, 373' 

Fletcher, Mrs, 308 

Floaters' ball, the, 218 

Flodden, the field of, 164 

Fochabers, 101, 102 

Forbes, Sir Charles, 108, 389, 391 

Forres, 6, 95-99, 102, 146, 256, 346 

Fountain Dale, 360, 363, 371 

2 D 2 



Fountainhall, Lord, 105 

Fountains Abbey, 360 

Fox, Mr, 137 

Fraser of Lovat, 92, 93, 369 ; notes 


of Torbreck, 313 
Harriet, 370 
Freeburn, 277, 278 
Frere (uncle George), 52, 53, 54, 

71,72, 157, 234, 364-367 
(aunt Lissy), 57, 58, 61, 65, 69, 
71,72, 73, 75, 81, 112, 119, 
143, 150, 154, 157, 161, 241, 

365, 366, 383, 384, 389, 405 ; 

see Grant 
John, 61, 72, 339 
Susan, 51, 73 
Freres, the, 55, 73, 87, no, 115, 

162, 233, 340, 365, 390 
Frogmore, 149 
Fullerton, Mr, 335 
Fyffe, John, 171 
Fyvie, Mr, 373 

GALE, Urquhart, 306, 347 
Gardiner, Miss, 32-35 

Janie, no 

Mr, 393-395, 397, 398, 400, 405, 


Garmouth, 101, 229 
George III., 93, 140, 149, 160 
George IV., visit of, to Scotland, 

354, 355 

George, Mr, 324 
Gibson-Craig, Sir James, 372 

Lady, 383 

Willum, 341, 388 

Gibson-Craigs, the, 322, 336,377,388 
Gillies, Lord and Mrs, 115, 193, 

236, 286, 293, 335 
Gillio, Amelia, 330, 331 

Mrs, 391 

Glasgow, 2, 3, 367 
Glass, Betty ; see Campbell 
Glenbervie, Lady, 161 
Glenelg, Lord ; see Grant, Charles 
Glen Ennich, 187, 201, 300 
Glenevis, Cameron of, 188, 190 
Glen Feshie, 226 
Glenyarry, 371 
Glenlee, Lord, 293, 294, 296 
Glenmore, 201, 213 
Glentromie, 92 

Glossip, Colonel and Mrs, 153 
Gloucester, Duke of, 9 
Goodchilds, the, 19, 330 
Gordon Castle, 101 
Gordon, Colonel, 92, 101 

Dr and Mrs, 243, 244, 283, 302, 
319, 320 

Duchess of, 41-44, 48, 50, 92, 
H5, 158, 174, *67, 276, 305, 
306, 308 

Duke of, 92, 101, 201, 113, 241 

Jenny, 1 88 

Lady Georgina, 42, 43 

Lady Jane, 45 

Lord Lewis, 190 

Sir Willoughby, 367 
Gordonstown, 100 
Gow, Neil, 40, 166, 298 
Graeme, Robert, 334, 335 
Grant, Allan, 224 

Annie, 115, I44-H8, 15*, 156, 161, 
173, 277, 303 i see MrsN 

Charles, 35, 107, 272, 273, 358 

Mrs Charles, 116 

Charles, Lord Glenelg, 62, 91, 
272, 273, 349, 382, 389, 390 

Sir Colquhoun, 108 

Colonel, 99 

Colonel Francis, 62, 354 

George, 67, 188 

Grace, 170, 180, 233 

Gregor, and Mrs Gregor (see 
Mary Ironside), 397 

James, 344 

Miss Jean (Pro), 98 

John, Achnahatanich, 186, 200 

John Peter, minister of Duthil, 

107, 203-206 

Minister of Duthil, 203-206, 252 

Peter Macalpine, 145, 189 

Peter the Pensioner, 108, 199, 263 

Mrs Provost, 97-99, 108 

Robert, 349, 368, 389 

Sandy, 113, 120, 161 

Mrs Sandy, 120 

Widow, 264 

General William, 108, 263 ; notes 

4 T 5 
Sir William, Master of the Rolls, 

108, ua ; notes 411 
Grants of Ballindalloch, 88, 186, 

193, 241 
of Congalton, the Misses, 354 



Grants of Dalachapple, Alexander, 

230, 262 

of Glenmoriston, Patrick, 44, 74, 
210, 266, 279, 370 

Anne, 152 

Harriet, 73, 74 

the Lady, 94, 191 
of Grant, Sir James, 27, 45, 62 

Lady, 27 

Miss, 27 

Ludovic, 1 86 

of Kilgraston, Mrs, 286, 309 
of Kinchurdy, 94, 250, 265 
of Kincorth, Lewis, 391 
of Rothiemurchus, Alexander 
(great-uncle Sandy), 21, 26, 

69, 79, 152, 191 
Mrs Alexander, 69, 70, 191 
James (third laird), 185 

his wife Grace (Mackintosh), 
called Grizel Mor, 1 86 ; 
notes 412 

James (fifth laird), 187, 190, 243 
his wife, the Lady Jean 
(Gordon), 21, 79, 190, 191, 
198, 243 

Jane (sister), Mrs Pennington, 
57, 58, 59, 62, 78, 79, 80, 82, 
87, 104, 109, 114, 116, 126, 
129, 130, 131, 132, 135, 136, 
140, 141, 143, 147, 151, 152, 
155,156, 157,158,162, 163, 
165, 177, 179, 180, 200, 213, 
215, 224, 231, 232, 236, 237, 
238,248,250, 251,254, 255, 
256, 259, 282, 283, 291, 298, 
310, 311, 312, 318-320, 322, 
328, 330, 332, 334, 336, 341, 
342, 343, 348, 349, 352, 354, 
357, 367, 369, 371-375, 376, 
384, 389-391, 399, 405-407 
John Currour, 187, 188, 243 
John Peter (seventh laird) 
(father), I-I2, 15, 26, 28, 
32, 34, 4i, 49, 50, 57, 6x, 
62, 65, 66, 69, 71, 74, 80, 85- 
90, 94, 104, 113, 118, 126, 
143, 146, 151, 152, 154, 155, 
158, 161, 162, 170, 171-173, 
177, 178, 180, 181, 183, 193, 
197, 212, 213, 229, 230, 231, 
234-237, 240, 242, 247, 248, 

Grants of Rothiemurchus contd. 

251, 252, 255, 258, 264, 271, 
274, 279, 281, 282, 284, 287, 
292-296, 298, 299, 303, 304, 
307, 308, 310, 313, 32i, 332, 
336, 339, 340, 342, 344, 345, 
347, 352, 353, 354, 355, 359, 
367, 372, 376, 377, 382-385, 
389, 403-406, 407 
Lady (Ironside) (mother), I- 
10, 12, 15, 19, 21, 26, 
27, 28, 32, 34, 37, 40, 
48-50, 52, 71, 73, 74-8o, 83- 
90, 92, 94, U3, 126, 134, 
143, 145, 148, 150, 151, 152, 
154, 158, 162, 170, 172, 173, 
177, 179, 181, 189, 193, 194, 

210, 212, 213, 229, 230, 231- 

333, 236, 242, 243, 248, 250, 

258, 264, 269, 271, 279, 282, 
285, 286, 289, 291-294, 297, 
310, 313, 315, 321, 322, 336, 

339, 341-345, 347-351, 353, 
354, 368, 372, 376, 377, 380- 
403, 406 

John Peter (ninth laird) 
(brother), 71, 72, 79, 116, 
152, 156, 164, 167, 169, 170, 

ISO, 213, 220, 224, 226, 238, 

243, 344, 355, 256, 271, 330, 
336, 339, 340, 348, 358, 368, 
371, 380, 382, 393, 395 

Captain Lewis (great-grand- 
uncle), 26, 44, 89, 146, 183, 
188-190, 192, 195-197, 205, 
247-252; notes 415 

Mrs Lewis (Miss Duff), 146, 189 

Mrs Lewis (Miss Grant, Burn- 
side), 190, 195-197, 247-251 

Lissy (aunt), 3, 5, 6, n, 12, 26, 
27, 33, 39, 48, 51, 52, 54, 
55 ; see Mrs Frere 

Mary (sister), Mrs Gardiner, 9, 
15, 31, 37, 40, 48, 55, 58-6o, 
79, 82, 116, 147, 148, 152, 
156, 164,176, 180, 213, 223, 
224, 232, 238, 241, 244, 254, 
255, 327, 330, 342, 343, 370, 
371, 376, 379, 38o, 383, 384, 
387-398, 401, 405 

Patrick of Muckerach, 184 

Patrick Macalpine (fourth laird), 
1 86 



Grants of Rothiemurchus, Patrick, 

called Rothie (sixth laird) 

(great-uncle),3, 4, 6, 24, 68, 69, 

108, 191, 194, 195, 213, 243 

Patrick, in Tullochgrue,i87,i9O 

Mrs Peter (cousin's wife), 150, 


Colonel William (great-grand- 
uncle), 16, 44, 145, 186, 188, 

Dr William (grandfather), 2, 3, 
5, 25, 68-70, 156, 191, 240; 
notes 411 
Mrs ; see Raper 
William Patrick (eighth laird) 
(brother), 6, 7, 8, 10, II, 
12, 15, 17, 23, 25, 30-35, 
39-41, 44, 48, 55, 57, 58, 
71, 79, 82, 84, 85-87, 114, 
126, 158, 170, 213, 233, 237- 
239, 244, 245, 246, 254, 283, 
284,290,297, 300, 319, 320, 
322, 342-348, 352, 354, 359, 
360, 368, 371, 372, 376-378, 
383-392, 405, 406, 407 
of Tullochgorm, 188 ; notes 414 
Grants of Rothiemurchus, genealogy 

of the, 184-192 

Gray of Kinfauns, Lady, 307, 309 
Grenville, Lord, 117, 124 
Grey, Lord, 321 
Griffith, Dr James (cousin), 54, 82- 

84, 121-144, 350, 351 
Mrs (great-aunt), 19, 20 
Gurdon, Miss, 115 

HADDON Hall, 364 
Hall, Sir James and Lady Helen, 
308, 312 

Basil, 312, 334 

Fanny, 311 
Hamilton, Lord Archibald, 157 

Henry, 157 

Hampstead, life at, 364-367 
Hatley, Captain, 73 
Hay, Sir Adam, 313 

Elizabeth, 313, 341 

Sir John, 308, 313, 314, 341 

Robert, 313 
Hemans, Mrs, 370 
Henderson, Miss, 315 
Henning, Captain, 392 
Henville, Mr, 91 

Herbert, Mrs, 56 

Holme, Colonel and Mrs Rose of, 

279, 352 
Charlotte Rose of, 280, 301, 352 ; 

see Lady Burgoyne 
Hood, Lady, 301 
Hooker, Dr, 349, 352 
Hope, Dr, 284, 312 
Horsemans, the, 19, 123 
Horsley, Bishop, 68 
Houghton-le-Spring, 17-20, 29, 40, 

Hughes, Dr, 141 
Hunter, Lady, 331 
the Misses, 312, 331 
Mr William, 161, 303 
Huntly, Lord, 45, 92, 170, 174, 241, 
245, 252, 253, 267, 268, 269, 
270, 274, 280, 299, 304, 306, 
314, 38i 
Lady, 252, 253, 267, 268, 275, 

280, 299, 306, 381 
Hutton, Squire, 20 
Buttons, the, 72 

INCH, Loch, 43 
Inchyra, 298 
India, 393-403 
Inglis, Miss, 330 
Inver, 40, 298 

Irjverdruie House, 3, 22, 23, 24, 26, 
168, 169, 183, 189, 190, 200, 
213, 252, 258 

Invereshie, 44, 168, 193, 299 
Inverkeithing, 17 
Inverness, 84, 93, 170, 240, 300, 

301, 346, 378 
Ironside, Colonel and Mrs Charles, 

ill, 140 

Edmund (uncle), 18 
Edward (uncle), 14, 18, 35-37, 
174, 303, 3io, 343, 357, 358, 
394, 401 

Elizabeth (aunt) ; see Mrs Leitch 
Fanny (aunt), 14, 20, 38 
John (uncle), 18 

Mary (aunt), Mrs Griffith, after- 
wards Mrs Bourne, 6, 13, 14, 
27, 33, 37, 38, 48, 53, 54, 55, 
60,79,82, 84, 85, 117, 118, 

I22-I3I, 139, 144, 203, 221, 

235, 259, 312, 349, 351, 352- 
356, 378, 405 



Ironside, Mr (grandfather), 4, 18, 

Mrs (grandmother), 6, 18, 292 ; 
notes 409 

Patience and Prudence (great- 
grand-aunts), 19 

Peggie and Elsie (great-aunts), 
19, 78 

Ralph (uncle), 18, 36, 47, 116, 
123, 159, 299. 349, 350, 351, 
his son Edmund, 47, 349, 

his daughter Eliza, 47, 349, 350, 

Mrs Ralph (aunt Judy), 47, 123, 

William (uncle), 18, 382 

his daughters, Eliza, 76, 358 
(see Bax) ; Kate, 76, 358 (see 
Barnewell) ; Mary (see Mrs 
Gregor Grant), 358 
Ironsides, the, I, 3 
Irving, Mr, 366 

JAMESON, Major, 40x3 
Jedburgh, French officers at, 165 
Jeffrey, Lord and Mrs, 64, 286, 313, 

319, 334, 335, 341, 370, 372, 


Charlotte, 319, 370 
Jobson, Mrs, 326 
Jones, Mr, 72 
Jopplin, Miss, 47 
Jordan, Mrs, 173, 237 

KAYE, Mrs, 336 
Keith, Lady, ill 
Kemble, John, 14, 38, 159, 337 

Stephen, 155 

Kennedy of Dunare, Mr, 328 
Kent, Duchess of, 367 
Kenyon, Lord, 119 
Khandalla, 398 
Killiecrankie, 166 
Killiehuntly Dell, 239, 299 
Kilmerdinny, 46, 47, 115 
Kilravock, Mrs Rose of, 281 
Kinapol, 16, 44, 69, 172, 236 
Kincairn, 168 
Kinchurdy, 88 

Kincraig, 1 68 

Kinderley, Mr, 47 

Kingussie, 168, 21 1, 241, 348, 


Kinloss, 63, 96, 161 

Kinrara, 26, 41-4$, 69, 87, 90, 115, 
174, 193, 245, 267, 272, 299, 
305, 306, 314, 349, 352 

Kinross, 21 

Kitson, Cuddy, 1 8 


Lansdowne, Lord, 321 

Larrig, the Pass of, 201 

La"uder, Sir Thomas and Lady 

Dick, 105, 106, 174, 201, 243, 

276, 369, 370 
Lauderdale, Lady, 313, 314, 354 

Lord, 313-316, 327 
Launder, Ursula, 156 
Laurie, Lady, 73 
Lawrence, Mrs, 358, 359 
Leinster, Duke of, 71 
Leitch, Mr, 18, 32, 36, 46 
Mrs, 3,4,6, 32,36,47, n$, "9, 

123, 159, 265, 367 
Leitchison, 101 
Lempriere, Mr and Mrs, 362 
Leopold, Prince, 314 
Leslie, Professor, 312 
L'Espinasse, Mons., 285, 336, 368, 


Liddell, Sir Thomas, 1 6, 307 
Listen, 337, 338 
Loch-an-Eilan, 82, 90, 185, 202, 

222, 258, 349, 385 
Lochan Mor, the, 145, 146, 199, 


Lochans, the, 82, 223, 259 
Loch Ennich, 201, 224, 300, 301 
Loch Morlich, 201 
Lockhart, Mr, 325 
Loder, Mr, 332 
London, 8, n, 16, 389 
Bury Place, 8, 9, 10, 14 
Lincoln's Inn Fields, 13, 31, 48, 

63, 118, 144, 156, 161 
Luinach River, the, 201, 300 
Lynch, Mrs, 8, 10, 16, 29, 31, 36, 

39, 49, 51, 55 ; see Mackenzie 
Lynedoch, Lord, 350 
Lynwilg, 22, 168, 244 



MACALPINE, Patrick Grant, of 
Rothiemurchus, 186, 189, 205 ; 
notes 412, 413, 414 
Macbean, Sandy, 305 
Macdonald, Lord, 371 
of Alvie, 208, 209 

Mrs, 209 

Macfarlane, Bishop, 84 
Macgregor, Sir William, 108 
Macgregors, 195, 258, 259 

John, 171, 172 
Mackenzie, 16, 31, 37, 39, 51, 239, 


Jock, 41 

Mrs, 251, 277, 386 ; see Lynch 
of Applecross, 280, 301 
of Gairloch, Sir Francis, 280 
Mackintosh, Duncan, 67, 117, 159, 
183, 192, 199, 213, 214, 221, 
223, 224, 239, 271, 344 
Mrs, 192, 198, 213, 214, 250 
Sir James and Lady, 186, 367 
John, 171, 231, 386 
of Balnespick, and Mrs, 193, 217, 

of Borlam, and Mrs, 202, 276, 


Sandy, 213, 214 
Macklin, Mr, 91, 174 
Maclean, Donald, 8, 29, 172, 242, 


Miss, 346 

Macleods of Macleod, the, 307, 309 
Macpherson, John, 172 

Mrs, 275, 379, 38o, 383, 387 
Ossian, 21 1 

Macphersons of Belleville, the, 44, 
116, 117, 193, 211, 212, 215, 
216, 217, 237, 238, 239, 242, 
273, 274, 285, 286, 349, 352, 
373, 376, 379, 384, 387 
of Cluny, 44, 92, 193 
of Invereshie, 190, 250 
of Ralea, 353 

Maitland, Captain Antony, 315 
the Ladies, 313 
Lord, 314 
Maling, Miss Bessy, 1 1 5 

Mrs, in 
Malings, the, 303 
Malshangher, 374, 390, 40$ 
Manchester, Duchess of, 83, 158, 

Manchester, Dukes of, 41, 90, 


Marcet, Mrs, 349 
Marjoribanks of Lees, Sir John, 


Massie, Mr and Mrs, 307 
Matthews, 337 
Maxwells, Mrs, 339 
Melvilles, the White, 309 
Milbankes, the, 77 
Millar, Mrs, 32, 35, 38, 55-58, 74, 

William, 39, 40 
Milltown, 169, 199, 263 
Moises, Mr, 134, 141, 143 
Molesworth, Lady, 286, 307 

Sir William, 307 
Moncrieff, Lord, 370, 388 
Montague, the Ladies, 41, 158, 305, 

3o6, 350, 381 
Moray Firth, 95 
Morayshire election, 62 
Moreheads, the, 335 
Morses, the, 393, 394 
Moy, 44, 99 

Muckerach, 107, 183, 184 
Munros, the, 286, 309 
Murray, Charlie, 158 

John, 286, 334 

Lord and Lady, 308 

Lady Augusta ; see Sussex 

Murdoch, 223 

of Abercairney, 354 

William, 335, 337 
Murrays of Ochtertyre, the, 307 
Murrays, the Wolfe, 295, 316 

NAIRN, 95 
Naldi, 114 
Neale, 69, 191, 388 

N , Mrs, 340, 358-364, 371, 

372, 389-390, 407 ; see Annie 

Maj.-General, 176, 303, 340, 361, 
363, 371, 388-392 

N s, the, 362 

Nesham family, 18, 20, 292 

Jane (great-aunt), 19, 20, 384 
Newstead, 364 
Nicholls, the Misses, 72, 160 
Nightingale, Mr, 297-299, 300 
Normanby, Lady, 16 



Norris, Mr, 395 

Northern Meeting, the, 276, 279, 

Norton, William, 156 

OLIPHANT of Rossie, Mrs, 309 
Ord Bain, 168, 236, 243, 356 
Orde, Lady, 73 
Osborne, Mr, 214 
Oxford, 122-144, 367, 390 

PALMER, Mr, 305 

Park, the Misses, 72 

Pennington, Colonel, 363, 364, 371- 

375, 389, 390 
Penson, Mr, 28$ 
Perceval, death of Mr Spencer, 

1 60 

Percival, the Misses, 72, 160 
Perry, Miss, 117 
Persian Ambassador, 1 1 6, 117 
Perth, 21, 79, 87, 242, 244, 297 
Piozzi, Mrs ; see Thrale 
Pitmain, 167, 168, 277, 348 
Pitmain Tryst, the, 273, 300 
Play fair, Professor, 284, 311 
Polchar, the, 82, 172, 258, 356 
Ponsonby, Colonel, 350 
Ponton, Dr, 240, 241 
Porter, Miss, 405 
Potters, the, 19 
Prince Regent, the, 160 
Pringle, the Misses, 327 

)UEEN Caroline's trial, 350 
}ueen Charlotte, 149 
)ueen's Ferry, the, 165 

RAMSAY, Miss, 87, 90, 91, 107, 


Ramsgate, visit to, 150, 160 
Raper, Admiral, 68 ; notes 411 
John (great-grandfather), 3, 39, 

64, 68 ; notes 410 
Harry, 73 
Matthew (great- grand-uncle), 5, 

64, 66-68 

Miss (Mrs Grant, grandmother), 
3, *5, 67-71 

Raper, Mrs, 52 
Raper Hall, 54 
Rapers, the, 3, 64 ; notes 410 
Ravensworth, Lord, 307 
Rawdon, Mrs, 350 
Rawlins, Miss, 303 
Redfearn, Johnny, 6 
Redfearns, the, 115 
Reid, Mr and Mrs, 63 
Relugas, 104, 105, 106, 369 
Rhinruy Moss, 231 
Riannachan, 172 
Riccarton, 377, 388 

Mr Craig of, 342 
Rich, Mrs, 367 
Richmond, visit to, 38 

Duchess of, 305 

Mr and Mrs, 307 
Ricketts, Admiral, 140 
Rob Roy, notes 413 
Rose, George, 365 

William, 366 
Ross, Betty, 170 

Charlotte, 102 

George, 31, 41, 171, 172, 194, 

his son, 41, 170 

Simon, 170 

Rothiemurchus, 2, 3, 5, 22, 41, 
69, 81, 87, 101, 104, 126, 131, 
162, 1 68, 169, 170, 184, 189, 
190, 193, 198, 200, 212, 226, 
241, 258, 271, 283, 344, 346, 
355. 371 

Rowley, Mr, 135-141, 35 1 
Roxburghe, Duke of, 86 
Russell, Lord Charles, 381 

Mrs George, 335 

Lord John, 382 

Lord William, 306 

Lady William, 350 

ST GEORGE, Miss, 153 

Saltoun, Lady, 280, 354 

Sandford, Erskine, 320 

Saunders, Dr, 156 

Scarborough, 15-17, 29 

Scarlets, the Misses, 72 

Scott, Sir William (Lord Stowell), 

83, 123, 141, 142 
Lady, 142, 143 



Scott, Sir Walter, 120, 163, 166, 
268, 325, 326, 354, 369, 370 ; 

Seafield, visit to, 296 

Seaham, 74-79 

Shaws of Rothiemurchus, the, 183, 

184, 185, 201 ; notes 412 
Shaw-Stewarts, the, 307 
Shearer, Miss, 328, 329 
Shelley, Mr, 138 

Sir Timothy, 138 
Shepherd, Sir William and Lady, 

Siddons, Mrs, 159, 337, 338 

Mrs Henry, 237, 327, 329 

Sally, 406 

Sidmouth, Lady, 143 
Sims, Mr, 120 

Sinclair, of Murkle, Sir John, 305 
Miss, 307 

Sir George, 6 

Kate, 327 

Lady Madelina, 115 
Sligo, Lady, 143 
Slochd Mor, 84, 278 
Sluggan, 88 
Smart, Mr, 310 
Smith, Colonel, 357, 395-47 

Dr, 241, 352, 356, 368 
Sobieski, the brothers, 368, 369 
Spey, the, 23, 24, 31, 70, 83, 101, 
104, 107, 168, 193, 201, 204, 
219, 221, 228, 243, 247, 277, 
305, 346, 368, 384, 387 
Stael, Mme de, 342 
Stairs, Miss, 303 
Stalker, Mr, 203, 301 
Steele, Colonel, 306 
Steenson, Mr, 101, 229, 230 
Stein, Mr and Mrs, 286 

Grace, 330 
Stephens, Miss, 337 
Stevenson, Captain, 73 
Stewart, Dugald, 339 

Jessie, 147 

the Misses, 73, 146, 286 

Mrs, 250 

Mr, 240 

Stort, the River, 51 
Strathspey, 26, 83, 184, 214, 2 1 8, 


Strutts of Helper, the, 362, 363 
Studley, 358-360 

Sunderland, visit to, 78 

Sussex, Duchess of, Lady Augusta 

Murray, 150, 152, 154, 155, 

Duke of, 145, 150 

TAVISTOCK, 322, 339, 382 

Tay, the, 165 

Tennochside, 46, 47, 84, 351, 35* 

Thompson, Mr, 35, 72, 128, 148 

Thomson, Tommy, 286, 334 

Thorley Hall, 5, 8, 39, 48, 63, 64, 

66, in, 149, 161 
Thorleyhurst, 54 
Thorley Wood, 54 
Thrale, Mrs, 44, in 
Tod, Mr Antony, 314 
Tomnahurich, 195, 197 
Torbreck ; ste Eraser 
Trotter, Mr, 319 
Tullochgorm, 88, 89 
Tullochgrue, 82, 190, 300 
Tunbridge Wells, 12, 48, 50, 

Tweeddale, Marchioness of, 350 

Marquis of, 306, 350 
Twyford House, 3, 39, 48, 50-55, 


58,61-66, 71,74, in 

Tyndales, the, 72 

UNIVERSITY College, Oxford, 122- 

Urquhart,Mr, 279, 281 

VEITCH, Mrs, 307 
Vickery, Mr, 128 
Vincent, Mr, 128 
Vines, the, 303, 367 
Vivians, the, 72 
Voules, Mr, 54, 149 

Mr and Mrs William, 149 

Walker, Mr and Mis, 360 

Tom, 176, 363 
Ward, Mr, 115, 308 
Wards, the ; see Ironside 
Wellington, Duke of, 130, 366 



Wemyss, Lord and Lady, 308 
West, Captain, 403, 404 
Wildman, Colonel, 364 
Williams, Anne and Mary, 114 
Mrs Sophy, 3, 26, 67, 70, III, 

389, 391 
Dr and Miss, 121, 122, 141, 

Williamson, Lady, 16 

Wilson, Sir Griffin and Lady, 37, 

52, 115, 160, 394 
Withan, Sally, 59 
Woodside, 336 
Wynyard, Lady Matilda, 287 

YORK, Duke of, 342 
Young, Mr, 337 







Smith, Elizabeth Grant 

Memoirs of a Highland lady